Umrah with kids: It’s easier than you think!

 

Hajjwithchild

                                                 Image Courtesy www.seerahtours.com

 

Visiting the Holy land  of Makkah and Madinah is the dream of every Muslim; but having children like toddlers and juniors- it can become a nerve wrenching, and tiresome experience.

A toddler, who needs constant attention, and care, makes the rituals difficult to perform with heart and soul; and the little one can make it a frightening experience- as often witnessed.

But, keeping these few points in mind, and few precautions beforehand, makes the minor pilgrimage a safe, sound and fulfilling experience.

  1. Make identification card for each kid- displaying name, father’s name, hotel name, and phone no, in bold. Kids should not forget to wear it every time they are out.
  2. Keep only the necessary luggage with you. Use the backpacks and  hand carries- as they are easier to manage
  3. Ahram is not mandatory for kids; but if they clad them, be sure it is not over fitted,, or loose- as it will greatly irritate the child. Rehearse with them wearing it at home. Also, tell them the necessities of it. Otherwise, clad them in simple and decent attire.
  4. Medicines and liniments- including Anti Histamines, Calpol, Thermometer, ORS, should be kept handy in the luggage.
  5. Goggles, moisturizing lotion, and sun block should be worn whenever outside- as the weather is usually hot in Arab Countries.
  6. A wrist Band, or a chest jacket, must be tied by the mother and the kid at the time of prayers- as this is usually the time the kids get misplaced.
  7. Avoid going to a rush area with the kids- as this will misbalance you, and can result in a fall.
  8. A handy Bag with extra baby food, baby wipes, diapers, nappy rash cream, clothes, mosquito repellant lotion should be kept every time.
  9. Be calm and hassle free. Kids usually take a lot of time doing little things. Rotate turns with your hubby while performing rituals like Tawaf and Sai; or can take a wheelchair to let the kids sit on it.
  10. Always mention a common point i.e. a meeting place- in case anyone gets lost so that they re-unite there.

Wishing all a safe and fulfilling journey. Insha’Allah.

10 Tips of safe Pilgrimage with kids

Image courtesy http://ummar-homeschooling.blogspot.com

Image courtesy http://ummar-homeschooling.blogspot.com

Visiting the Holy lands of Makkah and Madinah is the dream of every Muslim; but with toddlers and babies, it can become a nerve wrenching and tiresome experience.

A toddler who needs constant attention and care makes the rituals difficult to perform with heart and soul; and a little can change into a frightening experience (as often witnessed).

Following are the few precautions that would make the pilgrimage safe, sound and a heartfelt experience.

  1. Make the identity cards of every kid displaying name, father’s name, hotel’s name and phone number in bold. Kids should not forget to wear it every time they are out.
  2. Only keep the necessary luggage with you. Use the backpacks, or hand carries as they are easier to manage.
  3. Ahram is not mandatory for kids; but if they clad them, be sure it is not over fitted or loose, as it will greatly irritate the child. Try wearing it at home first. Also tell them the necessities of it. Otherwise, clad them in simple and decent clothes.
  4. Medicines and liniments including Anti-histamines, Calpol, Thermometer, ORS should be kept handy in the luggage.
  5. Goggles and moisturizing lotion should be worn whenever outside- as the weather is usually hot in Arab countries.
  6. A wrist band or a chest jacket must be tied by the mother and the kid at the time of prayers- as this is usually the time the kids get misplaced.
  7. Avoid going to rush area with the kids as it will misbalance you and can result in a fall.
  8. A handy bag with extra baby food, baby wipes, diapers, nappy rash cream, clothes, mosquito repellant lotion should be kept every time.
  9. Be calm and hassle free. Kids usually take a lot of time doing little things. Rotate turns with your hubby while performing rituals like Tawaf and Sai; or hire a wheelchair to let the kids sit on them.
  10. Always mention a union point i.e. a common meeting place- in case anyone gets can reach to that point easily.

Wishing you all a safe and fulfilling journey.

Reflections on the Haram Tragedy

kaaba

On 11th September 2015, there was a huge sandstorm followed by thunder, lightning, and rain. In the midst of it all, a massive construction crane crashed into Makkah’s Grand Masjid and fell into the Mataf. This has so far resulted in a loss of over 107 precious lives and has left many injured.

Inna lillahi wa inna alayhi raji’oon.

May Allah (swt) grant forgiveness to the ones who have passed away and bless them with Firdaus and may He grant ease and Shifa to the injured, and may He grant solace and Sabr Jameel to their loved ones. Ameen Ya Rabb Al-Alameen.

It is time to pause and reflect. All this took place in the Haram, by the will of Allah (swt).

Either this came upon us (the Ummah) as a punishment, as Allah (swt) says in Surah Shoorah, 42:30:

“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.”

Or as a test:

It was narrated from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet (sa) said: “Great reward comes with great trials. When Allah loves people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath.” (Tirmidhi)

Remember that when a calamity befalls a believer, he turns to Allah, seeks help through patience and prayer, and seeks forgiveness. Our response to the calamity tells us if it was a punishment or a test to raise one in status.

We are hopeful that those who have returned to their Rabb as a result of this incident are martyrs.

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Martyrs are of five kinds: One who dies of plague; one who dies of disease of his belly; the drowned; one who dies under the debris (of construction etc.), and one who dies while in the way of Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

As for those who are injured as well as for the loved ones of the deceased and injured, we are hopeful that this event will be a source of forgiveness and purification for them.

Narrated Abu Saeed Al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said: “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Bukhari)

Following are the responses of some scholars and teachers on this incident

yasir-qadhi-on-haram-tragedy mufti-menk-on-haram-tragedy wael-ibrahim-on-haram-tragedy

Comprehensive Packing List and Excellent Tips for Hajj

lists

Courtesy: www.productivemuslim.com

When you travel for the land of Makkah & Madinah, it is a great journey that is not only far off but is also a journey that reminds us of afterlife and our duties to the people behind us.

According to Islam you should clear all your liabilities and pay off all your dues before the spiritual journey. You are also bound by Islam to write a Will before you leave.

Following is a check list of items to be carried for the pilgrimage. You may need more things; it is always better to prepare the list so you do not forget any items which you might need.

  • Ahram
  • Towel
  • An Umbrella
  • Pair of Sleepers
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, if necessary
  • Shampoo & soap
  • Few packs of biscuits and other dry food items
  • Packet of tissues and toilet tissue roll
  • Alarm Clock
  • Basic medicines Disprin, Brufen, Strepsils, cough syrup, Immodium
  • Face and hands washing soap, detergent or cloth washing soap
  • One or two cups and glasses
  • Few pairs of socks
  • Nail Cutter
  • Scissors
  • A small knife for cutting fruits (keep this in your big luggage not in hand luggage)
  • Camera and sufficient batteries. Take extra batteries (keep this in your big luggage not in hand luggage)
  • A prayer mat if needed.
  • One or two extra travel bags. This is for when you go to some place for a longer period or for bringing gifts on way back.
  • Some extra packed juices or soft drinks. They are available but it’s better to have one or two in your bag as well.
  • Face cream or cold cream or Patroleum Jelly Its very hot but due to Air-conditioning it’s also very dry.
  • A travel iron
  • Tea bags and water heater for making te

Some of the other things you need to make sure you know.

  • Attend the Hajj seminars and workshops conducted by your Hajj tour company (tour-operator)
  • Make sure you have all the necessary travel documents before you leave for Hajj. These Items are:
  • Your Passport
  • Your Identity Card
  • Your Airline Ticket
  • Hotel Vouchers
  • Transport Vouchers or tickets
  • Although most airlines flying out from Jeddah allow hajj passengers to carry zam zam water on board, in addition to the maximum weight allowance, it is better to find out when you arrive at the airport about carrying zam zam
  • Allow some flexibility in your departure schedule as it may not be possible for you to depart on scheduled dates due to some unforeseen circumstances  particularly for women if they have to delay tawaf of hajj (tawaf-ziyarah) due to menstrual cycle
  • For women: they may want to consult with their doctor and take proper medications to delay or differ the menstruation cycle during the Hajj or Umrah
  • All the flights to Jeddah airport cross the miqat before they land in Jeddah, therefore you must be in the state of Ihram when landing in Jeddah airport
  • If you are traveling direct to Jeddah, you will assume Ihram before you board the plane otherwise you enter Ihram at any transit stop enroute to Jeddah.  Your group leader will advise you about it.  You will have lots of help from your fellow hajjis, or your group leader who accompanies your group.

Some of the other things you need to make sure you know.

  • Develop an understanding, the respect and love for the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his mission for mankind
  • Develop humility and the highest degree of patience.
  • Don’t shout
  • Do not liter at airports or spill water in toilets or try to impose on others that you are a VIP in the house of Allah. Everyone is VIP.  Some of these old humble poor people around you may be a lot closer to Allah than your royal highness.
  • So become a kinder, gentler person during hajj and umrah and try to keep the same spirit forever.
  • Once you are there, do not yell, do not be overly demanding or rude with your Hajj group leader or staff performing
  • Always Ssay Please and wait for your turn
  • Reduce your expectations regardless of what you may have paid for your hajj package and of what you were promised for this journey.  Even if you felt cheated and if you did not complain and remained patient Allah surely will compensate you insha Allah
  • This journey is different from any other journey you may have ever taken.  Tour operators and their associates may try to fulfill their promises, but may not able to do so because situations will arise in which they have no control over
  • Once inside Saudi Arabia, expect delays from the airport to your hotel and do not look or feel frustrated, angry and take it out on your group leader.  He has no control over the local entrants no matter what you paid.
  • Perform 2 rakats of Salaat-al-Tawbah (repentance of the past bad deeds).  Be conscious of doing good deeds always. Understand tawheed and behaviour in it.
  • Follow the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)
  • Be regular in five daily prayers while you are on this journey and also when you return
  • Read Quran with meaning to understand and practice sincerely
  • People from all over the world and different backgrounds will be there. Do not engage in meaningless arguments and quarrels.  Give others preference over yourselves.  Seek forgiveness immediately should you hurt or offend anyone.
  • If you wish to express your dissatisfaction write a detailed letter to your tour operator and make suggestions on how to improve services.

Before You Leave Your Home

  • Plan to do hajj with the intention of obeying Allah ‘s command while avoiding riya
  • Pray two rakahs salah and seek help from Allah and pray for a safe journey.  Ask Allah for His help and protection from the harm of evil.  At the departure gate, take taqwa with you and leave behind your heartfelt duas’ for your family so that they may remain in Allah’s protection
  • Check all your travel documents (i.e. passport, airline tickets and all relevant coupons, verify with airline yourself)
  • Make extra copies of your passport, visa, tickets and the traveler’s cheques.  Take one set with you and place it in a separate location along with a couple of identification photos.  Leave an extra set of documents at home.
  • Take only one good bag/suitcase
  • Take one with wheels so that you can pull it.  Tie some good rope firmly b/c in some cases, the baggage may fall and burst open scattering the contents
  • Make a few personalized identification tags or marks that you can spot from a distance
  • Your carry-on bag should contain survival items for 2 to 3 days, just in case your main bag gets lost
  • When loading and unloading to and from bus or taxi, be sure to check your baggage.  Make sure that what you pack belongs to you
  • If you break away from the group, you are on your own, don’t put the blame on your tour operator for leaving you behind
  • Get to know your travel companies and your group leader before hand, in order to understand the schedule and one anthers expectations
  • Learn Arabic: at least a few words and phrases will be helpful.  Most of the locals understand some English and other eastern languages rather well

Money Matters

  • Traveller’s cheques are not recommended as they are hard to cash since you won’t be carrying your passport, which will be taken from you just before boarding in Jeddah or at Madinah airport.  You will receive your passport upon your return at Jeddah airport for the flight back to your home country
  •  Carry US Dollars or Pounds or Euros, larger bills of 100 or 50 dollar bills or pounds.  You can exchange Dollars everywhere in Saudi Arabia into Riyals
  • Do not carry all your money with you; place your money at different locations on yourself.  This is a precautionary measure.
  • Take approximately 1000.00 dollars per adult for miscellaneous expenses or emergency needs.  This amount is in addition to all other hajj related expenses

Refunds

  • Should be obtained at the airport before returning home or any unused travel coupons attached to your passport

 Special Note: In case your tour operator has arranged for private buses for transportation during the entire trip, you should be refunded for all your transport vouchers attached in your passport before you leave Jeddah Airport.  Ask your tour operator about it.  Nobody can cash it for any reason or pretence except you.

Before You Leave Home For the Airport

  • Call the airport beforehand to find out the status of your departure flight.
  • Be on time at the airport as instructed by your group leader. If you miss your flight, you are responsible for costs incurred
  • Leave your home early enough to arrive to the airport on time for your flight. Consider the weather, road conditions, and traffic laws
  • Check all your travel documents once again before you leave your home

During The Flight

  • Use the washroom as soon as you feel the need. Do not wait too long
  • If you are in Ihram, do not use cologne/perfume products available on the flight
  • When you come out of the washroom, make sure you leave it very clean, with no water on the floor, or used tissues in the sink or wash basins

Jeddah Airport – Hajj Terminal

  • Upon arrival, your group will be received by the staff of ministry of Hajj. They will help you process the travel documents
  • You will be waiting in the arrival halls until your turn comes.  These halls have no facilities except washrooms, wudu areas and drinking water. It is going to be approximately a 4-6 hour wait, depending on the date and time of arrival. Eat the snacks you have packed in your carry-on.

After Customs

  • Your baggage is your responsibility. Work on a baggage supervision plan with your group. Stay together.
  • Next – you will show your passport for the removal of the Hajj fee. Cashiers cheques, and bus travel vouchers will be stapled to your passport. Before you move on, check these items and your passport for accuracy
  • Your group will then move into the waiting area platforms, opposite of the terminal halls. There will be restaurants, banks, ministry offices, prayer areas and airport malls where you can buy Hajj related items. By this time, you may be exhausted and hungry
  • Always keep your passport in your possession. Go to the bank (cubicles) and convert your money into Saudi Riyals. Eat and rest, sitting watching your luggage.  You may shop for your needs in these malls.
  • Your group leader will collect passports to make arrangements for the bus to Makkah or Madinah according to your travel itinerary
  • When the bus arrives at the platform, enter your bus and sit in your seat.  Luggage will be handled by the airport porter and loaded into the bus.
  • All your passports are with the bus driver.
  • Before the bus leaves the terminal platform, a passenger count will be taken by cross referencing with the passports by Ministry staff or driver and your group leader
  • According to your travel itinerary, the bus will travel to Madinah or Makkah. Upon arrival, before entering the city, you will pass through a reception centre, where your passports will be registered in the data centre and your Muallim’s office.  If you leave your bus to go to the washroom or any other reason, make sure you note your bus number and isle number so you may return to your respective bus
  • When you enter Madinah, the bus goes to the Muallim’s office where your passports will be deposited and receipts will be given to your group leader. Every Hajji will receive a wrist-band and the Muallim’s address card.
  • Next, your bus will go to your hotel for accommodations according to your Hajj package.

Your Activities In Makkah

  • Once you have unloaded your luggage, assigned your rooms, rested and refreshed, you are ready to do Umrah.
  • Your group leader or accompanied religious scholar will brief you on how to perform Umrah. You will then be lead to the Masjid Al-Haram.
  • When you get to the 1st sight of the Ka’aba, Stop, and make takbir and recite dua
  • Complete a tawaaf of Umra with Idtibah and Ramal and Sa’ee
  • Men will cut their hair at a barbershop near the doors of Marwah while the ladies will be waiting near the door of Marwah
  • After that, you will go to your hotel rooms and help in cutting the ladies’ hair (approx. 1 inch of hair in length)
  • After this, come out of Ihram, take shower and change into regular clothes. At this point, your Umrah is complete
  • From now until the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, you are free to do any activity
  • During your stay in Makkah:
    • Attend 5 daily prayers in Haram –Ka’aba
    • Do as many nafil tawaaf as possible
    • Do extra Umrahs if you wish
    • Consult your religious scholar at all times for any/all religious matters
  • According to your itinerary, if your are visiting Madinah before Hajj, follow the instructions of the group leader about packing luggage for traveling and departure to Madinah either by Saudi Air or by bus

Visit to Madinah

  • After arriving at your hotel room, freshen up, eat some food if hungry and leave for Masjid-e-Nabawi.
  • In the masjid, pray 2 rak’ah Tahayyah-tul-Masjid and recite durood on the Prophet (saw).
  • Walking with humility & respect, join the existing line, walking towards the grave site (rowdha) which will be on your left side.  As you come closer, facing the screen, say a sincere Salaam to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) “As Salaam Alaika ya Rasulullah”
  • Do not raise your hands in front of the grave site for a du’aa
  • Avoid all forms of shirk (4:48)
  • Next, move onwards to your right and say your salam to Hadrat Abu Bakr (R) and then to Hadrat Umar (R)
  • Next to the marked pillars the area called is Riyaz-ul-Jannah. Prays at least 2 nawafil and without hurting or disturbing anyone. Pray and make your dua’a here, sincerely for this is a high place of acceptance.  This is part of Jannah as it is narrated in a hadith
  • Spend as much time as possible in this masjid to do Salah, durood-e-Ibrahim, dhikr of Allah (swt) and study the Quran.  Additionally, you may offer salaam (if possible after every salah) and durood.
  • Your group leader will arrange a guided tour of the historical and religious sites in and around Madinah that includes a visit to Masjid Quba

Start of Hajj

  • Pack your small carry-on bag, provisions for 5 days and nights. You will be staying in crowded dusty camps. Mentally prepare yourself for such an experience for which you have traveled so far to get mercy and blessings from Allah (swt)

8th Of Dhul Hijja – Hajj Starts Today

  • If you are in Makkah, take a shower and put on Ihram and make the intention for Hajj and say Talbiya as you did for Umrah, observing the restrictions of Ihraam.
  • Those coming from Mina, enter the state of Ihraam in Madinah or Dul Hulaifa making intention for Hajj. Say Talbiya and start observing Ihram restrictions.
  • All hujjaj in ihram from Madinah, Makkah or from anywhere proceed to Mina arriving before noon on 8th of Dhul HIjjah.  You will stay overnight in Mina.
  • During your stay in Mina, do Ibaadat – avoiding all worldly conversations
  • Be helpful to the needy

9th Of Dhul Hijja – Day of Arafah

  • After Fajr prayer, proceed to the tents in within the boundary of Arafat with your group
  • Remember to stay with your group at all times
  • Remember that you came all the way here for today’s event – i.e.  The day of Hajj. You will stay here from noon to sunset during which you pray Zuhr, Asr shortened and combined with one adhan and two aqamahs.
  • Some pilgrims may do these prayers at their respective times. Do not get into arguments. Follow your Imam.
  • After Zuhr and Asr prayers, eat lunch, get some rest and start waqoof Arafat.
  • Today is the climax of Hajj for the Hujjaj. It is the day you came here for physicality and spirituality. You must do some taubaa and istigfar, reciting words of Tawheed. This is the largest gathering of all Hujjaj, when everyone is and should be begging from the one and same Master his Majesty, Allah (swt)
  • All will stand in the same location, with the same address, uttering the same words, asking for the same requests and following the protocol. He invited to come there and to ask questions. You must produce Khuzoo, Kushoo, Taqwa and Rija’a (hope) – expect only good from Allah (swt) regardless of how meager but must be sincere).
  • He answers all prayers. Today is the best day for acceptance of your dua’a
  • The biggest loser amongst us is one who does not ask for nor has Rija’a (hope)
  • Observe the waqoof from late afternoon to sun down. Remember to pray for your parents, family, relatives, friends and those who helped and assisted you to prepare for this important journey

Leave Arafat for Muzdalifah

  • Follow the group leaders instructions
  • Upon arrival in Muzdalifah, after sunset, first pray Maghrib and Isha Salah; combined and shortened.
  • Collect 49-70 pebbles to throw at Jamarat on 10, 11, 12 & 13th.
  • Stay in Muzdalifah. Pray Fajr early at the starting time and engage in dua until day break
  • After sun rise, leave for Mina tents with your group

10th Of Dhul Hijjah

  • This is the day of Sacrifice
  • First, go to Jamarat site with your group, throw stones at the last Jamarat only and return to the tent.
  • If you have purchased Qurbani vouchers, assume Qurbani is done. Shave your head.
  • Discard Ihram, take shower and come out of Ihram. Put on regular clothes.
  • After that, go to Makkah, with your group leader. Perform tawaf of Hajj followed by Sa’ee and return to Mina and spend one night in Mina.

On 11th, 12th throw pebbles on the three Jamarat – 7 pebbles each, any time after zuhr salaat until late evening.

If you are in a hurry, you can return to Makkah on the evening of the 12th day.

Otherwise, stay until the 13th. Leave Mina after throwing pebbles after Zuhr salat.  When you have returned to Makkah, perform a farewell tawaf before returning to your country.

If you have not yet visited Madinah, this is the time to go to Madinah after farewell tawaf.

Your Hajj trip has come to an end. May Allah accept your Hajj!

An Umrah to Remember

umrah“What is she reading… Blank pages?” I looked in bewilderment, as this girl came and sat next to me after Maghrib Salah at Masjid Nabawi and started reciting. I realised that she was blind and was reading the Braille Quran, it was the first time my eyes had set on a Quran with blank pages with just embossed dots.

Mesmerized, I fell into Sajdah Shukr- thanking Allah (swt) for being able to see His Kalam, to see the word ‘Allah (swt)’. I pause and ponder here for a moment- how many of us have a copy of the Quran in our homes, eyes to read, and yet, are oblivious to this immense blessing.

An image of a Braille Quran

An image of a Braille Quran

Another amazing moment, as I waited with restless, emotionally charged ladies of our country to get an opportunity to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah, I started to talk about the virtues of where we were sitting to a stranger companion who urged me to communicate all that to the rest of the group; so seeking permission from the Arab lady group in charge, Allah (swt) gave me an opportunity to address these ladies. I told the women how Allah (swt) had chosen us to be there, near our Prophet’s (sa) grave. So many people yearn and pray to visit his mosque where prayers are rewarded thousand times over normal prayers. We, therefore, in gratitude must not push, shove or hurt anyone, nor raise our voices, and should be fearful that the rewards we have come to gain, don’t turn into sins instead; alternatively, keep reciting Durud, focus on the fact the angels will take our Salam Insha’Allah to our Beloved Prophet (sa). The women listened wide-eyed, and wept too, and Alhumdulillah when we were called to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah area, the Pakistani group of ladies was relatively calmer.

The spirit of sharing and caring in the Prophet’s (sa) mosque was overwhelming. As I passed a number of Miswak to my companions, waiting in the mosque for Salah, a pretty girl opened her handbag and pressed a bottle of perfume in my palms. The scent was so delicate and back home it reminded me of my companion- her Duas, her love, as she gave me that gift, in our beloved Prophet’s (sa) mosque. It was so amazing- we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers. Reflection of warmth through eyes and gestures made that trip a source of love and peace, not experienced in any other journey.

As I passed a pack of sweet biscuits to the lady next to me, I noticed her thoroughly enjoying it. She read the wrapper and nodded in appreciation- making me realize how different tastes from different parts of the world too are a source of bonding with one another.

I observed as people would pour in before the Salah time, chairs were a much sought after item. It is good to guide people to where they are stacked. And that can only be done if you are observant and earmark the places.

Mondays to Thursdays after Asr prayers Halaqas are held, young children and ladies are taught to read proper Tajweed. The love and commitment of the teachers was amazing, and the students were so disciplined. One of the lessons that stayed in my mind is to constantly make Dua for acceptance of any good deed, small or big.

we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers.

As I approached Masjid Nabawi before the  Fajr Salah after keeping a voluntary fast, feeling a bit sad that I did not have dates for Sehri, a lady standing at the entrance of the mosque was eagerly distributing something. As I passed, she pressed the most delicious, juicy and fresh bunch of dates in my hand, Subhan’Allah; how Allah (swt) nourishes and fulfils our desires, even before we have had a chance to voice them.

It’s truly amazing how the voluntary Sunnah fasts of Mondays and Thursdays are opened with such zeal and enthusiasm at both the Mosques. Simple, yet the overwhelming warmth is an experience by itself. Adults and children all eagerly beckon you to join them at Iftari time. Arabic tea, dates, bread and yogurt- so nourishing and fulfilling- are such a contrast to our rich fried table spreads.

As the time to leave for Makkah drew close, sadness of leaving Madinah was soon engulfed with the excitement of Makkah and Umrah. As we stopped at the Miqat, I kept imagining how our Prophet (sa) and his companions (rta) too must have stopped at that point for entering into Ihram.

We entered Makkah just before Asr.  By that time, I had developed a slight fever and my throat was hurting too, coupled with the exhaustion of the drive. I decided I would wait till the next morning to perform my Umrah. Praying Asr in my hotel room, I decided to go to the mosque for Maghrib. I realized that the entrance had changed, and I never saw so many people before. Reading Duas I tried to reach the Kaaba, but due to the change I could not reach it, so I decided to retrace my footsteps in order to catch my Salah. Lo and behold, I had to visit the washroom. What to do? Where to find it? I tried to follow the instructions, but just could not seem to find it with so many people. I asked a sweeper, he tried to explain it to me but after seeing my eyes watery, he threw his broom to another and beckoned me to follow him, may Allah (swt) reward him. I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others- it was a great comfort for me to have someone guiding.

The next morning Alhumdulillah, I performed the rituals of Umrah

The rush, the construction, the noise of the equipment, all seemed to fade away when compared to the over powering emotions one is engulfed with as one approaches the House of Allah (swt); I am the Guest of Allah (swt)- the honour, and love Allah (swt) bestows are beyond my capacity to express here in words. The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.

During Tawaf, a hand was placed on my shoulder. Instantly, I wanted to shrug it off, but when I looked carefully- a lady was supporting her other arm with a lady and she needed to stabilize so had to sought my help. I slowed downed my pace, so she could comfortably walk.  It was amazing how smooth that Tawaf was. And later, my husband inquired how could I manage  the Tawaf in a much lesser time than him. It reminded me of a beautiful Hadeeth:

I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others

“Allah (swt) is helping the servant, as long as, the servant is helping his brother.” (Muslim)

After Salah, a group of Turkish ladies on my left invited me to eat with them. It was an amazing experience. There was so much energy and warmth in that group. They unrolled plastic sheet, placed bread, cheese from Turkey and olives. One of them would break the bread, spread the delicious cheese, add olives and pass it around. As soon as we had eaten, I shared my dry fruit from Pakistan. The most loved item was the dried round apricots. Once eaten, quickly the sheet was gathered, crumbs were cleaned up, and each of the ladies took out their copy of the Quran. One beckoned me to read first, while others listened. Turn by turn each one of us read a Surah and then just before Isha Salah, hands were lifted for Dua. We kissed, hugged and prayed for each other without speaking a common language. I felt I was in a dream. A dream I did not want to wake up from.

Later in the day, I paved my way through looking for a place for Asr Salah. Finally, as I identified a spot and had comfortably settled down with the Quran in my hand, a wheel chair edged next to me. Instantly, I felt disapproval as to how that wheelchair would fit in such a small space. The surrounding women too gave disapproving looks. And that is when I remembered how one should make space for other. I Squeezed, and beckoned others to do the same. The lady on the wheel chair gave a nod, and I noticed she managed to maneuver herself on the floor. And soon, she was lying down in front of us and started to read the Quran. No one said anything, but looks say it all.

The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.

After a while, she again managed to sit in her wheelchair, that is when we got to talk. She was from Argentina and came to Makkah with a group of women. She had a brace to support her spine, and she could neither walk, nor lie down, or sit for too long. I felt so ashamed of my negative thoughts for her and clasped the hands of that brave lady. She spoke English and soon we had our hearts pouring out to each other. After Salah, amidst tears of love for meeting each other, she asked me when would we ever meet. Knowing no answer, spontaneously I said, ‘Jannah!’ Ameen. More hugs and tears rolled down our cheeks praying for our friendship for Allah’s (swt) sake.  .

“Allah (swt) will ask on the Day of Judgement, Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My glory? Today, on a day when there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.” (Muslim)

There is yet more- in fact, I could go on and on, but lastly, a glistening pearl Tasbeeh was handed out to me during Tawaf. Memories of precious moments flood back only to engulf me to pray for more return visits.

”O Allah (swt) I ask You for Your Love and the love of those whom You Love and the actions that will cause me to attain Your Love”

The Treaty of Hudaibiyah


Islam7The treaty of Hudaibiyah is undoubtedly an excellent example of the Prophet’s (sa) wisdom and patience, which people even like  Umar (rta) could not comprehend until its fruits were ripe within the next two years.  Patience, in fact, is our best friend in all situations and it has been proven time and again.

Six years had passed since the emigration of the Prophet (saw) and his companions from Makkah to Madinah. During this whole period they were barred from going to Makkah and fulfilling their religious duty. This was indeed a great injustice by the Quraish and every Muslim felt its pain.

It was at that time, when Muslims had very strong desire to visit the Kabah and perform pilgrimage; Muhammad (saw) informed them of his vision of visiting Makkah for performing the Umrah. One can easily imagine how joyous the Muslims must have been to know this.

However, their jubilation was to be very short-lived. Quraish mobilized an army, including a cavalry force of two hundred, to prevent the Muslims’ religious march to Makkah.  Muslims had to encamp at a place called Hudaibiyah and negotiate with the Quraish.  After a few rounds of talks, following treaty was signed:

  1. The Muslims shall return this time and come back next year, but they shall not stay in Makkah for more than three days.
  2. They shall not come back armed but can bring with them swords only sheathed in scabbards and kept in bags.
  3. War activities shall be suspended for ten years, during which both parties will live in full security.
  4. If anyone from Quraish goes over to Muhammad (saw) without his guardian’s permission, he should be sent back to Quraish, but should any of Muhammad’s (saw) followers return to Quraish, he shall not be sent back.
  5. All the tribes of Arabia would be free to enter into treaty with any party – the Muslims or the Quraish.

Apparently, the treaty was in favour of the Quraish and most of the Muslims were critical of its terms. Even such a great man as Umar (rta) lost his patience and went to Muhammad (saw) and complained to him with anger and resentment, but could not alter the Prophet’s (saw) determination..The Prophet’s (saw) said that he was the servant of Allah (swt) and His Prophet and that he would not deviate from the divine commandment nor entertain any doubt of divine support.

On their way home between Makkah and Madinah, Surah “Al Fath” was revealed to the Prophet (saw) and he recited it to his companions. “Verily, We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, and complete His favour on you, and guide you on the straight path.” (Al-Fath 48:1-2)

History has shown that this pact was the product of profound political wisdom and farsightedness and that it brought about consequences of great advantage to Islam and indeed to Arabia as a whole. It was the first time that Quraish acknowledged that Muhammad (saw) was an equal rather than a mere rebel and runaway tribesman. It was the first time that Makkah acknowledged the Islamic state that was rising in Arabia.

Furthermore, the peace of the following years gave Muslims the security they needed on their southern flank without fear of an invasion from Quraish.

Islam spread after this treaty more widely and quickly than it had ever spread before. While those who accompanied Muhammad (saw) to Hudaibiyah counted one thousand and four hundred, those who accompanied him on his conquest of Makkah two years later counted well over ten thousand. Indeed, the treaty even made it possible two months later for Muhammad (saw) to begin to address himself to the kings and chiefs of foreign states and invite them to join Islam.

Events succeeded one another very rapidly, all of which confirmed Muhammad’s (saw) judgment and wisdom. Abu Basir (rta) became a Muslim and escaped from Makkah to Madinah. Obviously, the provisions of the treaty applied to him and demanded his return to the Quraish, for he had not obtained the permission of his master. Two messengers came to the Prophet (saw) with a letter from Makkah. The Prophet (saw) asked Abu Basir (rta) to return as they had covenanted with the Quraish to honour the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. Abu Basir (rta) objected to the Prophet (saw) that the unbelievers would force him to apostatize. The Prophet (saw), however, repeated the same judgment to him. Abu Basir (rta) had, therefore, to give himself up to the two messengers.

On their way back,  Abu Basir (rta) killed one of the messengers. The other quickly ran toward Madinah and reported the incident to Prophet (saw).  Soon, Abu Basir (rta) arrived and said to Muhammad (saw): “O Prophet of Allah! You have fulfilled your duty under the treaty and Allah has relieved you of your obligation. But I was not willing to allow myself to be persecuted or forced to abjure my religion.” The Prophet (saw) did not hide his admiration for him and wished that he had many companions. Later on, Abu Basir (rta) went to Al Is on the sea coast, on the road which the Quraish followed to Sham. When his story reached Makkah, the Muslims still residing there were elated, and about seventy of them ran away to Al Is to follow him as their chief.

Abu Basir (rta) and his companions began to cut off the trade route on their own initiative, killing any unbeliever they caught and seizing any camels belonging to Quraish. Only then did it dawn on the Quraish what a loss they had incurred by insisting on keeping the Muslims in forced residence in Makkah. In the consequent negotiation, the Quraish relinquished the privilege that the Muslims of Quraish who escape without the approval of their masters be returned to Quraish.

Relations between Quraish and Muhammad (saw) became quite peaceful and settled after the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. The Quraish embarked on enlarging trade, hoping to recapture the losses which had resulted from the war with the Muslims in which the road to Sham was cut. As for Muhammad (saw), he embarked on a wider policy of mission, seeking to bring his message to all men in all corners of the earth and to lay down the foundations for the happiness and success of the Muslims throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

Adapted from “The Life of Muhammad (saw) by Muhammad Husayn Haykal and Sealed Nectar by Safiur-Rahman Mubarakpuri”