We were more awake in the odd hours of the night than in the daytime, but that was expected on this journey. I woke up around 3:30am feeling really well-rested! Asif and I met in the lobby and made our way to the Haram. It wasn’t any more packed than the usual!
I had a great experience this morning. As I was alone on the ladies side, I always ended up sitting next to people I had never met before, from different parts of the world. Today, besides me, were a group of ladies from Turkey. As there was time between Adhan and Iqamah of Fajr prayers, I took out a small card I had and began reciting Suratul-Jum’ah in a soft tone. One of the ladies turned my way and was intrigued. I felt her staring at me as I recited. She smiled when I turned towards her after I finished.
There was a communication barrier, but I didn’t want that to be the reason we couldn’t at least try to get to know each other. These were my Muslim sisters! I gave her the card, and with a lot of emphasis on signaling, I explained to her as best I could that this Surah was highly recommended to be recited on Fridays as it was Jum’ah. She smiled wider, and began to recite the Surah from the card. After completing, she asked me if she could keep the card to which I said yes, and then she passed it on to about 5-6 of her friends telling them all to recite the Surah one by one. Watching this, was remarkable, and made me smile.
I felt after Fajr that the lack of sleep was really catching up to me. We made our way back to the hotel and I skipped breakfast, just so I could get enough sleep. Undisturbed sleep from 6 am till 12 pm was much needed! When I woke up I felt reenergized and got ready for Dhuhrain Salah.
The Haram had gotten extremely packed because it was Jum’ah and the heat was intense, so I decided to pray at the hotel. It was sad to be praying at the hotel when the Haram was so near, but I did not want to delay my prayers. At 1:45 pm, our lecture was a virtual tour of the outside Ziyarah that we were going to perform in Makkah. Abbas Mama gave us great insight on the places we may get to see contingent on the conditions in Makkah. As the rush died down (relatively), Asif and I went to the Haram for a little while.
That afternoon we had decided that we would go see Masjid-e-Shukr and Masjid-e-Ijabah. These were two of the mosques not too far from the Haram that Abbas Mama had mentioned previously in his lecture. We told a few of our friends that they were welcome to join us.
4 of our friends met us at the Haram and we made our way in the general direction of the two Masajid. We had no idea where exactly they were. In a previous virtual tour of Madinah (the first or second day after we arrived), we had seen the general location, so we thought finding it wouldn’t be too difficult. We reached Masjid-e-Shukr first, which ended up being about 25 minutes away from the Haram and had Sabira not had data to find it via google maps and GPS, we probably wouldn’t have made it!
We had to cross over a busy 6 lane highway, but we managed! There was hardly anybody there at the Masjid. Ola, a good friend I had made on this journey, was fluent in Arabic and read the board outside the Masjid for us, which stated the purpose behind the mosque. Masjid-e-Shukr, also known as Masjid of Abu-Dharr was where the Holy Prophet (s) stopped and went into Sujood for a very long time, thanking Allah (swt). We went in and prayed 2 Rak’ah Salah there before going to Masjid-e-Ijabah.
Masjid-e-Ijabah was significant for the place where the Holy Prophet (s) stood and prayed to Allah (swt) for three things, of which x were granted. Here, we also prayed 2 Rak’ah and then made our way back towards the Haram.
These small journeys were forever memorable. Not only did we build great memories as friends but we learned history that got us to think and reflect. I did not want to be one who came all the way to Madinah, not knowing if I would get another opportunity, and then not make the most of these local landmarks. I wanted to maximize every moment of the trip and learn as much as I could, in addition to completing the Wajibat.
It was 5:30pm and we were back at the Haram. We had an hour until it was time for Maghribain prayers. The 6 of us who had gone for the local Ziyarah together, now split up based on what each wanted to do. Asif and I decided to go to a neighbouring exhibition on the 99 names of Allah (swt). It was breathtaking to see how different names were explained and made into wonderful pieces of art.
With still 15 minutes after the exhibition, we rushed back to the hotel to freshen up and then back to the Haram in time to pray. Today’s evening lecture was by Sheikh Haider Shirazi, followed by a quick update on logistics for our departer to Makkah the next day.
That night was my last opportunity to go back to the Masjid. I went with Sabera aunty and the group of ladies with hope to spend a little more time as close to the shrine of the Holy Prophet (s) as I could. At 1:30am we arrived back at the hotel. I finalised my packing for Makkah and then got in to sleep. Tomorrow was the beginning of a new chapter in this journey…