The moment I think about the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, the first thought that comes is that it is the place that was once walked over by the great Prophets of Islam. And if you get a chance to visit, your heart gets filled with mixed feelings, of excitement and joy.
The experience of travelling itself is full of anticipation and joy. But the moment you enter the holy land the only thing left in your heart is awe. You are there in the most sacred places on the earth, the place chosen by Allah for His sacred house, the land that was once inhabited by people who were the best when it comes to faith and submission to Allah, the land which has had the blood of the people who laid the foundations of Islam with hearts that were burning with the fire of faith and characters that inspired the kings.
You fear to put your first step on the holy land and your heart is taken over by sadness as you think about how you have ignored your soul and its actual destination and have immersed yourself deeply in the distractions of this world. Eyes tear as the hot sandy wind blows across your face feeling like a breeze and strengthening your heart. It’s the holy land. And if you have got this opportunity, that too is from Allah. And it means that Allah has given you a chance to reconnect with Him and purify your soul.
Makkah and Madinah have now turned into modern cities. They do not fit into your image of the cities as you read in the books of Islamic history or have seen in the Islamic movies. When on a short Umrah , the first place you go to is the Prophet’s Mosque. It is one of the two sacred Mosques mentioned in the Quran. And it also contains the Rawdah which is the area of the original mosque built by the Prophet Muhammad SAW. There is the house of the greatest man in the history of mankind and the greatest of all the Prophets of Allah. Walking past the graves of the pious predecessors makes you envy their status and generates an urge, to make yourself worthy to meet them one day in paradise.
As you leave Madinah and make your way to the blessed city of Makkah you remember how beloved this city is to Allah and how grieved was Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to depart from Makkah when he said:
“By Allah! You are the most beloved portion of Allah’s Earth to me, and verily you are the most beloved portion of the earth to Allah too. Verily you are the best, spot on the face of the earth, and the most beloved to Allah. If your people did not expel me, I would not have departed from you.” (Al-Muatta)
In the state of Ihram, entering the Sacred Mosque and looking at the Kaaba, the House of Allah leaves you in a flood of tears. The salaah you offer there is not only the most blessed of all your life’s prayers but also it is the most virtuous and full of devotion. Each ayah that you recite is between laments and tears. And then the tawaf around the Kaaba gives you a chance to express the new strength that your heart gained, and you enchant Talbiyah with all your heart, proclaiming your submission to the Almighty, in hope for his mercy and seeking forgiveness.
The cave of Hira reminds you of Prophet Muhammad’s SAW quest for the truth and the first revelation of truth that he got from Allah. When you leave the holy city you are still in tears but your heart is not empty. It’s full of faith and a determination to go back to the nature of Allah on which He created you.
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