Ten days in Hijaz
It was a divine call, really speaking. I was in Srinagar (Kashmir), which Moghul Emperor Jahangir had described as “Firdous” on earth. But the call I received from the Saudi Embassy in Delhi, was an invitation to visit the real “Jannat” on earth- the Haram-e-kaaba and Madina Munawwara. I instantly said “Labbaik”, and so I, along with my wife, was in Madina on May 22. I had the good fortune of visiting the Kaa’ba earlier also, but this time, it was more exciting, with a renewed faith in Allah and His “Aayaat”. I found that we were in a delegation of about 300 chosen ones, including Islamic scholars, from other countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
How lucky to once again offer Namaz-e-fajr in Masjid-e-Nabawi, as the first leg of our visit. As it was at the invitation of the Saudi kingdom, we had the opportunity to visit some historical sites, which showed that the Saudi government took care to preserve the places as cultural heritage. It was really an eye-opener to see that the Saudi government had got the translations of Holy Quran published in 63 languages as part of its efforts to take the message of Allah to all shades of people in all corners of the world. Really impressive work at King Fahad Quran printing complex. A visit to Masjid-e-Quba and adjacent museum of Madina history and graves of “Shuhada-e-Uhud” was rewarding.
Equally exhilarating is the delicate work for the preparation of “Ghilaf-e-Kaaba” with all its embroidery in golden thread to write verses from the Quran. Salute to the fine art and its skilled workers. This Ghilaf, as we know, is changed over holy Kaaba on the eve of Hajj every year. While in Mecca, we went round the ambitious constructions work going on for the expansion of Haram Sharif. Personally supervised by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the project, when completed by 2020, will accommodate nearly five million pilgrims at Hajj time. This work has been undertaken keeping in mind the ever-growing numbers of pilgrims for Umrah and Hajj. It is not only a physical expansion of Haram Shareef, but with equal emphasis on extension of facilities for the pilgrims, and to ensure an orderly flow of visitors, who throng the holy place every moment of the day and night.
Wearing Ahraam, we reached Mecca on May 25, and performed Umrah. We were overwhelmed by feeling of gratitude to Almighty Allah to have got another opportunity to perform these acts of faith with the hope that He would grant us pardon and bestow His ‘Karam’ and ‘Fazal’ on all of us!
The visit to Kaaba and Madina Munawwarah provided us with the opportunity to meet the two Imam-e-Haram Dr. Khalid al-Ghamdi and Ali al-Huzaifi. Both in their addresses emphasised the needs to carry and canvass the right message of Islam, as a religion of peace, tranquility and universal brotherhood. Both the imams took pains to express concern over the deepening differences based on various “Masaalik” in Muslim countries, and the false propaganda being carried out in other countries to present a false and misleading picture of Islam. They expressed anguish over the conspiracy to defame Saudi Arabia and the concerted effort to spread false propaganda against the kingdom.
With a deep sense of gratitude to Allah, we returned to Delhi on May 31. We also thank the Saudi government to have provided us with this opportunity. Masoom Moradabadi
The writer is a Delhi-based senior Urdu journalist.