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Memoirs of an American Haji, Part III

February 3, 2006

kr’s note – I just received word that the father of Sr. Zaynab Salman
passed away last night in Michigan after complications of cancer. Inna
lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji`oon. Please make du’a for his maghfirah
(forgiveness) and for peace of mind for the family. May Allah forgive
him and have mercy on him, accept his death as that of a person of
Iman, make his grave to be a garden from the gardens of jannah,
resurrect amongst the nation of the Prophet, grant him shade and water
on the Day of Judgement, grant him the intercession of the Prophet,
help him to cross the Sirat quickly, and admit him into Jannat
al-Firdaus in the company of the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs,
and the Righteous. And may He give his family, relatives, and friends
sakinah and patience during these days. Ameen.

kr’s note #2: this one’s long. deal with it.

Friday, January 6 – My
mom woke me up around 3:30 AM for
tahajjud, but since my feet were killing me, I told them to go on without me. I
woke up again around 5 am and felt
pathetic: you idiot, you’re this close to
Masjid al-Nabwi and you’re praying in your room
. On sheer stubbornness, I
got up and walked to the Masjid for Fajr. One of the things that’s amazing
about the Masjid, compared to Masjid al-Haram, is they’ve planned it out such
that there’s no buildings creeping up to the gates of the Masjid itself. This
is in stark contrast to the Makkah, wherein hotels and buildings are literally
at the gates of the Haram itself, not only obscuring, but symbolically showing
this “surrounding” of God’s House by corporate venues. Don’t get me wrong, I
enjoyed having a Cinnabon nearby so I could get one for breakfast, but on some
levels, Masjid al-Haram evokes a feeling of claustrophobia. More on this later,
but quite the opposite is present in Madinah, as the open-ness of the approach
to the Masjid leads to an openness of one’s heart while viewing this serene
landscape. As one walks the alleys of a dimly-lit Madinah and sees the
Prophet’s Masjid resplendent with light, the mosque symbolically represents its
blessed sleeper, as if it too were like a full moon in a pitch black sky. And
while I criticize the Saudi government for many things (as you will read
later), I have to tip my cap for the solid job they’ve done with the expansion
of the Haramayn, particularly of Madinah, as the architecture itself elaborates
on the atmosphere of Madinah itself. It is this atmosphere, one wherein respect
for the sanctity of the Prophet is paramount over all things, that makes a
simple madinah into a Madinatu’l-Nabi. If one listens closely, one can almost
hear the bricks on the buildings, the stones on the pavement, and the winds of
its alleyways resounding, reverberating, and quietly whispering praise and
prayer upon the Messenger of Allah. It is a city whose only purpose is to
celebrate him, and its calmness and tranquility is the city’s way of remaining
quiet, so as to not disturb the repose of its celebrated son. The architecture
of the Masjid can only be described as divinely inspired, as its sheer beauty
serves as a fitting shell for the beauty of the one who lies there with his two
companions. Amidst such beauty, I felt quite ugly walking in with my sins, but
the winds that blew across my clothing and face seemed to lovingly whisper that
it was ok, that the beauty of this place was enough to counter any ugliness
that anyone may bring. I approached his masjid as the Fajr adhan echoed from
the parapets of the masjid; if this adhan were so beautiful, how much more
beautiful would the adhan of the Abyssinian slave-turned-master, Bilal, have
been to witness, especially when he would point to the Master when saying Ashaduanna Muhammad al-Rasulullah!…?
As I walked in, I thought I had arrived relatively late and wouldn’t get inside
the Masjid near the front and would have to walk to the back (the mere idea of
walking was painful itself), but thankfully, the southwestern gate itself (Bab
al-Salam… the one used by the men to enter and walk the corridor-like
passageway to approach the Tomb) was still open, so I managed to get in and
pray quite close to the Imam. Thubaiti led again, destroying us with his
recitation of Surah al-Rahman. My only beef with him was when he decided NOT to
finish the Surah in the second rak`ah and stopped right before the description
of the other two Gardens =).

After Fajr, I quickly went to the
Tomb again before it would get crowded again (and half the area shut off for
the women). As I was saying my salams, I overheard some people saying theirs as
well, but also cursing Abu Bakr and `Umar in Arabic, and also blaming the
Prophet for allowing them to perpetrate their crimes. I had heard about such
things before (and I knew who these people were, I won’t mention it here), but
hearing such things brought tears of sorrow and anger to my eyes. I mean, I
understand their beliefs and what I was hearing wasn’t anything that I had not
read about, but to actually hear it
with my own ears was one of the worst feelings ever. I tore myself away from
the Tomb lest I become angrier and prayed to God to guide these sorts of
people. I hung around near Riyad al-Jannah until Ishraq time, and then made my
way over to the old mimbar, the one used by the Prophet during his lifetime,
especially when he would pray his tahajjud prayers. The present mimbar is
somewhat more forward than the old, and this has been done to accommodate the
corridor-approach to the Tomb (as mentioned earlier). If you get a chance to
pray here, definitely do so; it’s quite easy to find it (it has a zebra-like
paint pattern on it) and since not many people know what it is, it’s not quite
as crowded as some of the other areas. This particular place is amazing because
while certainly, the Prophet prayed all over the masjid, one knows for sure
that he prayed in this spot, and to be able to pray in that spot… subhanallah,
what a prayer. After Ishraq, I went to the Tomb again, bid salam, and
contemplated returning to the hotel for breakfast. But since it was Friday, and
I didn’t know when else I would have time, I decided to gut it out and walk
over to the Jannat al-Baqi (located to the southeast of the Masjid), where many
Companions, Followers, and scholars/saints are buried. Here also, much of the
aforementioned cursing goes on; it’s best to not pay attention to such people
and for one to respectfully go to the graveyard and bid one’s salam. In recent
years, the Saudi government has removed all the markers at the graves (and
perhaps there’s some benefit in that), so only a few people know the specific
locations of a given Companion. After Jannat al-Baqi, I hobbled back to the
hotel for breakfast. Alti and his family were at breakfast, even though they
were at another hotel. Alti told me that the hotel they were at was an all-male
Syrian group that they felt oddly out of place eating with them; besides, they
had their quirks, such as after each meal, they would all start clapping in
unison and start chanting, “Thank you brother Samir, Thank you, Thank you!” as
a way of apparently showing their gratitude to their group leader, I guess.
Alti’s mom rightfully chewed me out for being an idiot when she saw my state;
great, now I had three mothers scolding me… sigh. After some bread and water, I
headed up for a nap and got a few hours of sleep. I woke up around 10:30 and got ready for Jumu’ah, which was at 12:30. When you go there, remember that it’s
not like American masjids where you can show up right before the iqamat is
called. In the Haramayn, the masjids get filled hours before the actual Jumu’ah
time since people from the surrounding areas come in as well (since Friday is a
holiday there), so if you want to pray inside, get there at least 2 hours
(during Hajj season at least) before the actual time. I got there around 11 and
managed to get a place in the middle part of the masjid; since I couldn’t stand
for very long, I sat down and read Qur’an until Jumu’ah time. The khutbah was
given by Thubaiti; it was the first time I heard him give khutbah, but old boy
was amazing… even starting from the introductory hamd (praise), he started to
break down and cry as he was praising Allah. I loved how he addressed the
audience as “Ya Hujjaja Baytillah!”
everytime he quoted a hadith or an ayah.

After Jumu’ah, I sat around for a
while to wait for the crowd to disperse, and then I too hobbled back towards
the hotel, stopping to pick up a shawerma sandwich from a shop outside the
hotel. The plan now was to go as a group to visit some of the historical places
and masjids around the city of Madinah;
the bus was supposed to arrive at 2 pm. Here began a trend that I was quite
familiar with during the Hajj season, something that any prospective Haji
should become well aware of and accepting even before he/she arrives in Saudi
Arabia: don’t
expect any bus to ever arrive on time, even before the Hajj starts. Once the
hajj starts, forget about it. The bus will come, seriously, when God will send
. So as I got there in the lobby around 1:45,
the entire group was there, eagerly anticipating the Ziyarat around Madinah. I
chuckled to myself, becharay, they don’t
know how things work around here
. Alti was in the lobby with his family, so
I sat down with him. Seeing as how I didn’t get around to obtaining a digital
camera before I left, Alti’s sister had one, and she showed us all the pictures
she managed to “unobtrusively” take in the Masjid. Alti was supposed to send me
some of those pics that we took of me and him in the lobby, but the camera’s
currently in Pakistan;
maybe I’ll put those up some other time. Anyway, as we sat there in the lobby,
it was at this time that the group began to realize how incapacitated I had
become. I had managed to hide it somewhat the previous day, but it was getting
quite obvious now. Mashallah, each one of them were quite concerned and offered
various ways/remedies to cure the pain and swelling. Knowing that I’m a
terrible patient, Alti, of course, taking advantage of the situation then
filmed me as I confessed, “I’m the worst patient ever.” I think he plans on
posting that or something. Moving along, we continued waiting and waiting in
the lobby. It was now 2:30, and SU
told me that since many Hujjaj were leaving Madinah after Jumu’ah, many of the
roads had been blocked and our bus was going to take a while to get through. It
was while we waited that we saw one of the most amazing things ever, and Alti
will testify to this. As we sat there in the lobby on a sofa, a group of
African American brothers were sitting on the sofa next to us. All of a sudden,
another brother came to join them: a huge linebacker-type African American
brother with a huge beard, dressed in white, with the pimpest jet-black
sunglasses that I’ve ever seen. This written description of him does him no
justice. This man was truly a man amongst men. Old boy came and just sat there,
not saying a word. He didn’t have to, Alti and I looked at each other and made
ijma` that this guy was the HNIC. Everyone else was just perpetrating; this guy
was the real deal HNIC. The whole time we waited there for the bus, for more
than an hour, he just sat there with his boys, and remained silent while they
were talking. We couldn’t tell where he was looking cause of the shades, but we
agreed that old boy was straight up chillin so much that the hotel could’ve
turned the AC off. We both had big huge smiles on our face, convinced that
Allah had sent this guy as a sign; Alti believed that Allah had sent him
because “Allah wants me to know what I’m up against, and the standard I have to
achieve.” When we finally heard him speak, it was to reply to a salaam of
someone, and he used the work “aak”. I love it when these brothers use that
word and how they say it; granted its completely grammatically incorrect, but
the passion and sincerity that they say it with is simply marvelous.

            The bus
finally came after `Asr (3:30); the
group ran off to quickly pray in the Masjid while I prayed in the hotel lobby.
I totally wasn’t feeling up to going on Ziyarah, but as the namesake spiritual
guide of the group, I had an obligation to go along and explain things along
the way. Besides, I also selfishly wanted the reward of praying in Masjid Quba,
as there is a hadith that says that one who makes wudu in his home and then
prays two rak’ah in Masjid Quba will get the reward of an `Umrah. By the time
people came back and got on the bus, we finally got on the road around 4 pm. We
then proceeded to Masjid al-Qiblatayn, one of the most unique places in the
world. It was at this place (it wasn’t a masjid at the time) that the Prophet
was leading the Companions in prayer during the second year of Hijrah in the
direction of Masjid al-Aqsa and revelation came to him, during the actual
prayer, to change the qibla to Masjid al-Haram. The Prophet had always wanted
to pray towards the Kabah, and even while the Muslims were in Makkah, he would
line himself up in prayer in such a way that even though he faced Jerusalem,
he would place the Ka’bah in between him and Jerusalem
(ie, praying towards the north while standing south of the Ka’bah). When he
migrated to Madinah, this wasn’t possible anymore, since Makkah was to the
south and Jerusalem to the north.
There had been a deep desire in his heart to pray towards the Ka’bah, and
finally it was answered at this place. The Prophet was leading the Companions
in Zuhr prayer; revelation came after he had completed 2 rak’ahs towards Masjid
al-Aqsa. As soon as wahy came, he then moved his place to the completely
opposite side of the area (the companions also turned 180 degrees around… quite
symbolic, if you think about it) and finished the remaining two rak’ahs while
praying towards Makkah. So while there’s no specific merit to praying here,
nonetheless, its an interesting historical artifact and hence a masjid was
built there later. In fact, you can still see the old mihrab where the Prophet
stood when he led the prayer towards Jerusalem.
After that, we headed towards one of the oldest date-palm groves in Madinah;
our driver told us that this palm grove is said to have been there since even
before the Prophet. A word about dates (the fruit… sheesh): if you want to buy
dates in Saudi, get them from Madinah. For one thing, they’re definitely less
expensive, but they’re also much better than the ones available in Makkah. I
definitely recommend picking up some Ajwa type of dates, as these are the ones
mentioned in the Prophetic hadith from Bukhari that eating seven of them in the
morning protects against magic and poison. I also recommend the dates that have
their pits replaced by almonds. After the date factory, we headed over to
Masjid Quba in time for Maghrib. Quba is a small neighborhood on the outskirts
of present-day Madinah wherein the Prophet stayed for three days when he
migrated to Madinah before entering Madinah proper. During these three days, he
constructed a rudimentary masjid, the first one ever built by the Prophet
himself. A common theme during this Ziyarah was that we’d stop at the place and
tell everyone they had a certain amount of time before they should come back to
the bus. With that in mind, one thing that must be realized when doing things
in a group (especially a group of Muslims) is that everyone except one or two
people (and it will always be a different person) will get back to the meeting
point on time. These stragglers will somehow manage to get themselves lost;
this is something that the Western Haji has to accept: people will get lost, it
will cause a lot of delay, but in the end, they’ll eventually turn up. At Quba,
we ended up waiting nearly 45 minutes for an elder group member to come up; old
boy got confused since all the buses look alike. After old boy showed up, we
then headed towards Uhud, the site of the second major battle between the
Muslims and Quraysh. It was here at Uhud where the famous incident of the
archers deserting the pass led to Khalid b. Walid sweeping behind the ranks of
the Muslims to turn an imminent Muslim victory into a loss for both sides. Uhud
has always been one of my personal favorite places in Madinah not only because
of its historical significance, but also due to its relative preservation—meaning
that there hasn’t been some elaborate reconstruction done; the area looks
pretty much the same as it might have appeared during the Prophet’s time. One
fascinating story that I heard from the last Hajj that I mentioned to the group
that was told to me by Shaykh Hilali took place quite recently. One thing that must
be remembered is that while there is a walled-off area that the Saudis have
said contains all the graves of the Muslims, the battle was taking place all
over that area, and both Muslims and Kuffar fell all over the battlefield and
were buried where they fell. So while it is true that the bulk of the fallen
fell in the walled off area, this is not to say that this is only place were people fell. With that
background, the story goes as this: a while back, the Saudis wanted to build
something near Uhud and were digging in the ground and stumbled upon a grave
that contained a man whose body was still warm and appeared to be sleeping. He
was lying on his right side with his head resting in his right hand. When they
moved the body and the hand moved from the right side of his face, warm, fresh
blood flowed from the man’s “fatal” battlewounds. No doubt, this was a
Companion who had fallen as a martyr during the battle; they therefore quickly
moved him and reburied him in the walled off area. The powerful part of the
story is when Shaykh Hilali then recited the verse from Surah Ali-Imran: “And do not think that those who have been
killed in the path of God are dead. Nay, they are alive with their Lord,
receiving sustenance
.” The other thing one will notice about Uhud is near
the walled off area, there are signs in a dozen languages and a loudspeaker
that plays a repeated recorded message telling people not to worship the
graveyard’s inhabitants and to supplicate only to Allah. Maybe it was just me,
but I thought: Dude, I get the point, don’t
have to beat me over the head with it
. It’s like anyone who raises their
hands while facing the graves of Uhud is the Wahhabis’ worst nightmare come
true. Anyway, as we got down at Uhud, I felt the worst pain ever in my feet;
all along it had been getting progressively worse and worse, but at Uhud is
where it spiked and broke all thresholds of tolerance. I felt like crawling as
the walk from the graveyard area to the bus was by far the longest, slowest,
and painful one I have ever taken in my life as I had to literally lean on my
mom and plod the hundred or so paces back to the bus.

            When we got
back to the hotel, my feet felt like they were the size of basketballs and I
wanted to lie down for three days and not even think about standing, let alone
actually standing. Yet, the post-dinner talk was in an hour, not three days,
and we had to make some important decisions as a group tonight. After telling
the group about the details of how to make `Umrah and the preliminary events of
the 8th day of Dhul Hajj, we had to decide on what Hajj we would
actually do. Since we were to leave Saturday morning (the 7th of
January and Dhul Hajj) after Fajr, we were hoping to arrive in Makkah by night
time, and the Hajj would start on the 8th. We thus had to decide
whether to perform Hajj Qiran or Hajj Tamattu`. I won’t go into all the details
of the differences between these two types of Hajj, but suffice it to say that
each one had its pros and cons and required different degrees of commitment
from the group. For example, Hajj Qiran is to make Umrah and Hajj with one
ihram, ie, one doesn’t remove the ihram between the two events. In Hajj
Tamattu`, one dons the ihram, performs Umrah, then removes it for a short
while, then re-dons the ihram for Hajj. The previous two times, I had done
Tamattu`, since we had arrived in Makkah several days before Hajj, and rather
than staying in Ihram for so many days, we came out of it between the Umrah and
Hajj. This time around, however, since we would be arriving in Makkah so close
to the actual start of Hajj, I suggested to the group that we do Hajj Qiran,
since this is the type that the Prophet himself performed and hence the Hanafis
view this as the more meritorious type to do. The Hanbalis/Malikis, however,
view that Hajj Tamattu` is better since the Prophet is reported to have said,
after he completed his Hajj, that if he were to do Hajj again, he would do the
Tamattu` version.  The stakes are also
higher in Hajj Qiran, meaning for example while it is more rewarding to do this
version, it’s also double the penalty for messing up; for example, if one
commits an act that requires a damm, one must pay two damms in Hajj Qiran since
one has violated the Ihram of Umrah AND Hajj, regardless of what the violation
was committed. Hajj Qiran itself can be done in three methods:

  1. Perform
    Umrah (Tawaf and Sa’y), then perform Tawaf al-Qudūm, and then another Sa`y
    of Hajj before going to Mina (the best method)
  2. Perform
    Umrah, then perform Tawaf al-Qudūm, but delay the Sa`y to be done on the
    10th along with the Tawaf al-Ziyārah
  3. Perform
    only Umrah and omit the Tawaf al-Qudum (as it’s sunnah and thus doesn’t require
    a penalty for missing it), and delat the Sa`y for the 10th
    (least preferable method)

It was necessary for the group to understand this since given
the time constraints of when we would arrive in Makkah and then have to leave
for Mina (and start the actual Hajj), we’d have to see if it was even possible
for us to manage to do all these things. Obviously, I didn’t want to do option
C or even B; I wanted to aim for A but was mentally prepared to settle for B if
time forced us to take that route. Thankfully, the group agreed with my opinion
and opted for A or B, and put aside option C and Hajj Tamattu`. The Q/A session
that followed was also quite long, and I was exhausted by the time it was over.
The interesting event of that evening was when another Chicago
group sent a representative to ask me to come to their hotel and say a few
words. I would have gone if not for my pain, but also for that particular group’s
leader, who several people told me said to them, “What kind of Hajj group are
you guys in with this chota bacha
(small kid) serving as the group scholar?”. And while the statement wasn’t
completely false, I did feel hurt by this mentality that just because someone
is young, it automatically precludes them from being able to do something. The
elders sometimes seem to forget that youth is not a blemish, but rather, it is
a blessing; one should not be included or excluded simply on his/her age, but
rather it should be based on one’s abilities and experience. We sometimes seem
to forget that Usamah b. Zayd led an army at the age of 17. Nevertheless, I
would have gone had it not been for the pain and hearing something like that,
the only response that one can have and still maintain sanity is to hear it
with one ear and let it go with the other and pray for the person who said/did
such a thing. Believe me, any other way will simply consume you with
frustration and anger towards people. Before I went to sleep that night, TP
suggested to my mom that I wrap my feet in a haldi (turmeric) wrap with
aluminum foil as that would help the swelling. I went to sleep that night
knocked up on painkillers looking at my ridiculously yellow-colored feet and
sympathizing with desi brides everywhere.


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  1. Anonymous permalink

    MashaAllah ur posts on Hajj are amazing… i like the realities you enlighten us with haha… the way you talked about Madinah was so amazing… great stuff .. but after reading ur last line.. haha… aw poor you.. i can’t believe your foot was in such bad shape.. ur a trooper too… just like lt haha… props on the yellow feet

  2. hehe love the last linepeace,IJB

  3. good post. i must say that was one of the most beautiful descriptions of madinah i have come across.
    about the people cursing at abu bakr r.a and umar r.a.’s grave, that’s pretty messed up. i heard that an imam was once walking by when he heard someone cursing at the prophet s.a.w’s grave. he silently passed without saying anything to them. that night i think he had a dream in which the prophet s.a.w asked him why he didn’t say anything to the guy who was cursing. the next day the imam gave a really strong speech in haram shariff and after that, he was never seen again. i don’t exactly remember all the details of this, but i think that’s what happened. Wallahu’Alam.
    by the way shawerma sandwiches are the best. i can still remember the taste of it from saudi 11 years ago. yummmmm.

  4. Hey Salam old friend.  Your memoirs of the Hajj are great and written with fond detail.  Honestly, you and Kazim should write a book about your Hajj ventures.

  5. Sad sad sad man, what you heard near the sacred chamber was prolly Dua Sanamain Quraish(Supplication of the two idols of Quraish)[Nauzibillah], its sick disgusting and sadening to see these people do what they do. Little do these people know how great the first two caliphs were(RA’s). Yet they are brainwashed by their traditional propoganda, so they don’t know any better.   
    Allah hu Alim
    oh yea sadly the burial for brother salman was pospotened till tmrw, because of mass flooding in the area.

  6. Assalamualaikum….
    MASHAHALLAH…wow…i really like it……..
    “What kind of Hajj group are you guys in with this chota bacha (small kid) serving as the group scholar?”.  haha poor you…
    and the last line is just sad…poor you….again….
    Allah Hafiz

  7. Anonymous permalink

    haha man bandaged feet and the HNIC…sigh good memories man…

  8. your description of Masjid al-Nabwi is simply amazing… and hopefully your feet are better now!

  9. There’s a lot to comment on, but I think I’ll discuss them with you in person. I love the fact that your descriptions are bringing back memories of just doing stuff in Madinah. The place was just too chill.And remind me to tell you the sickest story I heard in regards to people cursing Abu Bakr(R) and Umar(R).

  10. Ah…that was delicious. 
    “the bus will come when Allah wills it…”, that line was awesome…
    Poor baby squirrel with yellow feet…May Allah accept your hajj

  11. writing was great. i loved reading it. especially this line:
    The architecture of the Masjid can only be described as divinely inspired, as its sheer beauty serves as a fitting shell for the beauty of the one who lies there with his two companions. Amidst such beauty, I felt quite ugly walking in with my sins, but the winds that blew across my clothing and face seemed to lovingly whisper that it was ok, that the beauty of this place was enough to counter any ugliness that anyone may bring.

  12. symapthizing with desi brides??? LOL! It took me 26 minutes to read this post, but it was simply amazing and very engaging. You’ve mastered your writing skills. Making us walk through your hajj experience is really unbelievable Masha Allah.I am really sorry to know that you’re feet were killing you. Do you think it was bcoz of the long jogg u went on before the day u left for hajj? Some of the lines I liked in this post were:”As one walks the alleys of a dimly-lit Madinah and sees the Prophet’s Masjid resplendent with light, the mosque symbolically represents its blessed sleeper, as if it too were like a full moon in a pitch black sky.” Waah Kamran bhai! yeh to sha se shaayri hogayee…hehe!”I overheard some people saying theirs as well, but also cursing Abu Bakr and `Umar in Arabic, and also blaming the Prophet for allowing them to perpetrate their crimes.” => Does this refer to the other sect of muslims? I am so ignorant… i have been there 18 years of my life, and I never heard about this.I love how the elderly people are referred to as “old boys” in your posts…hahahaha!”The elders sometimes seem to forget that youth is not a blemish, but rather, it is a blessing; one should not be included or excluded simply on his/her age, but rather it should be based on one’s abilities and experience.” => Very common especially in our desi culture. I totally agree with you on that one. Well, can’t wait for the next one bro… Bring it on :)Luv ya!

  13. Oh! I forgot to mention that I also heard several times about one of the companions who had to be reburied at Uhud a few years ago. Subhanallah!

  14. MuslimPearl: the story you’re referring to, to my knowledge, occurred around 1998. The ambassador of a nearby Muslim country (I think you can guess which one) along with some other officials were allowed inside the actual tomb of the Prophet. The head Imam of the time, Imam Hudayfi, was also present along with several other Imams to “show” them inside. When the ambassador and his posse went inside, this is when they started their umm “stuff”. That night in a dream, the Prophet came to Hudayfi and is said to have said to him: “How could you stand there while my Companions were being insulted in my very presence?” The following day was a Friday, and Imam Hudayfi was to give the khutbah. Despite the fact that the khutbahs read in the Haramayn are written and get approved by the Saudi government, Hudayfi literally flipped the script and went off at this “custom” of insulting the Prophet’s Companions. because he spoke out, he was removed from the Imamship for a while, but since he had big-time connections and was related to the royal family, they couldnt kill him or imprison him. they basically put him under house-arrest for a year or so. what is tragic about this story is that when the other imams of the country heard about this, they signed a petition declaring what was done to Hudayfi (a senior and well-respected Imam in the Muslim world) was wrong. The last part of this story, I dunno if it’s completely true, but I heard that some of the lesser-known and not-as-well-connected imams were imprisoned for a while due to their signing of the petition. apparently all this was the royal family’s attempt to save face with this other country. anyway, this is what i heard. God knows best what really happened.

  15. sshorty: you’ll read on shortly to find out what i couldnt continue being a trooper =). of course, i have myself to blame for all this.ishiwud: yeah, i felt bad, all along i thought desi brides simply do nothing and are fussed over for no reason… boy did i learn my lesson.da3d3lus (or however it’s spelled): hehe, kazim and i should write books on several topics but we’re too lazy and unmotivated to actually do it. but perhaps you’re right, we should combine our hajj memoirs and publish it. i could get paid and strike it rich and drop out of med school.mawlana muscles: im sure if you were there with your guns they wouldn’t have dared to do that =)A/E, believer2, imran, queenrooji, muhajibah: jazakallah khayr for the kind wordsalti: we shoulda taken a picture of that brother man… that man is an inspiration to one and all, mashallah. everytime i think of him still, i get this big smile on my face. may Allah bless him, whoever he was and whereever he is.

  16. Kr that makes me sick about that episode regarding Imam Hudayfi. And letting these animals inside the ACTUAL TOMB OF THE PROPHET? if you are interested I will send you a quote by one of their leaders regarding Abu Bakr(RA) and Umar (RA).

  17. omar: they still believe in one God and acknowledge the finality of the Prophet. let us not regard them as subhuman, instead, let us pray that Allah gives them guidance to recognize the error of their ways.

  18. this has been my favorite hajj memoir so far…the description of Madinah was absolutely beautiful masha’Allah..and the story that you first heard from Shaykh Hilali was amazing.. Subhan’Allah
    the last line was classic too =)

  19. I hope Imam Hudayfi is alright now. Props to him.
    By the way, thanks for Maulana Yusuf’s info. I really appreciate it.

  20. congratulations on Hajj, and thanks for sharing these memoirs, i’ll be sure to read all of them when i have the time. tc

  21. Wow mashallah! A truly inspirational piece…Your words conveying the beauty of Madinah and Mecca has really, REALLY made me anxious to visit it too. Mashallah, u r soooo lucky that allah accepted u to visit his noble house. Pray that us, who are not worthy of experiecing such spiritual revival, are able to go too insha’allah. Btw, what does HNIC stand for? I was hoping you would mention it later on in ur post what exactly is stands for but…lol….Yeah, I can sympathize with u, “yellow feet” ew, I definitely will not let that nasty-ness on my face when my time comes along. Btw, did it help any?

  22. man, i want to say that this was the best hajj post yet…it was so beautifully written…but i’m so shocked about these people who curse Abu Bakr (R) and Umar (R)…i’ve never heard that before…man, nobody should be cursing ANY of their fellow Muslims out, let alone the Sahaba…and these were the two CLOSEST companions of Rasulullah (saaws)…wow, that is just vilely disgusting…astaghfirullah =`(

  23. Anonymous permalink

    asak. mashAllah, i really really enjoyed reading this post. thanks for including all the historical information with your beautiful descriptions. may Allah (SWT) accept your Hajj and bless you for sharing your stories with us. and thank you for making dua for all of the xangans and conveying our salaams to the Prophet (S).
    one question – what “crimes” do the people who curse Abu Bakr (R) and Umar (R) blame them for?

  24. da3e: HNIC stands for “head ni–a in charge”… since some people take offense to using the word, i didnt spell it out.tararara3: they blame Abu Bakr and Umar for many things. google “shia abu bakr umar” and you’ll see some of the sick things they say. i don’t want to write it out myself cause it makes me sick.

  25. i heard u guys went through a pretty tough time…mubarak on making it through.

  26. Once again, a great post, and awesome art of writing masha Allah. This post had some valuable information. I really feel sorry for the pain you were going through, but your humor rocks: “looking at my ridiculously yellow-colored feet and sympathizing with desi brides everywhere.” hahaha!

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