An Enlightened Journey: Part 2 – Yaseen Najeeb

After circumambulating the Kaaba, we proceeded to the next part of our journey, fulfilling the ritual of Sai’. Sai’ is the commemoration of the long search Hajar (Hagar) took alone from Mount Safa to Mount Marwah in a frantic search for water for her and Prophet Abraham’s child, Ishmael. Ishmael is an ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad and is also regarded as a Prophet. I watched as my 75-year-old grandma trekked the long distance from mount to mount, without a single complaint. This tradition shows us how valuable the love of a mother is. And considering Hagar was an African woman from a beautiful continent, it is amazing to know that God chose her as the role model for the more than 10 million Muslim men and women of all races and colors who each year follow in her footsteps.

The next day we began our journey to the Enlightened City: Medina. Ever since I was young, I was told stories of the serenity that surrounds the city of Medina. When I arrived, I realized that the stories did no justice to what my eyes beheld. There was an unspoken and invisible feeling that shrouded all of the city—a calm, hushing sensation that flowed through every person’s heart.

This was the city with generous and kind people that welcomed the Prophet and his followers after they were kicked out of the city of Mecca that they were born and grew up in, making them refugees. The city and the people were beloved to the Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), but it also is the city that contains his grave and the graves of his two closest companions. Everything about the Prophet’s Mosque was beautiful, from the elegant gates, the countless minarets, to the stunning umbrellas shading the sun. As I walked into the Prophet’s Mosque for the first time, I felt a wave of emotions come over me.

Muslims are taught from a young age that the Prophet had the utmost modesty, the greatest character, and the kindest personality. He was the prime example, the epitome of role models. As I passed by his grave, I thought of all the lessons he had taught me through his sayings and actions, and I asked God to send peace and blessings upon him.

Finally, the trip had come to an end. What I gained from this trip cannot even begin to compare to anything I have ever experienced. I felt such a newfound connection to my faith that I have never felt before. Not only did I feel closer to all the stories I learned as a child about the Prophet and his companions, but I felt closer to all the other Muslims in the world. Regardless of our past decisions, level of faith, socioeconomic status, race, and age, we all joined together on this spiritual trip, engaged in conversations with each other, and bonded over our one connection that we have: our love for our faith. The feeling a person gets when in a place that they feel so connected to and have so much love for is a feeling that is indescribable. My soul and heart felt renewed and even to this day, I feel as though my faith is unwavering. I felt heartsick leaving the Enlightened City, but I realized that the lessons, conversations, and experiences I had gained would hopefully light the way for the rest of my life. 

 

Have you ever embarked on a journey or experienced something that affected you spiritually in a positive way?  

4 thoughts on “An Enlightened Journey: Part 2 – Yaseen Najeeb”

  1. After I transferred to UW-Madison from UW-La Crosse after my freshman year, I returned to La Crosse to visit some friends I still had there. The journey there was surreal. I made the trek numerous times the year prior from Dodgeville to La Crosse, but now I returned, not to go to school, but to reminisce. When I was a freshman and alone on Saturday nights because I did not yet drink while all my friends did, I would walk to the Mississippi River and watch the water flow. Those were lonely nights and I never wanted to be there at the time. I always wanted to be somewhere else with people more like myself.
    I visited that same spot a year later and felt that same seclusion I once felt. However, I gained a sense of history in returning. I felt that my time the year prior was layered onto the present. Mark Twain said it years before me, but in that moment of reminiscence, I knew that God was in that river.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience Yaseen! It was wonderful to read about your trip and, although it is unlikely I will experience something similar in regards to spirituality or faith, I hope that one day I can partake in something that induces a similar feeling. What a task it probably was to explain how you felt experiencing all of that, as I usually find it impossible to put into words amazing experiences and profound emotions. As it seems no matter how many times you try to encapsulate it, it never seems to quite do it justice!

  3. I think a huge eye opening experience was one of the community projects I participated in during high school, was a canned food drive hosted at the art museum coordinated with many other youth groups of different faiths. During the day we not only were able to do some good for our surrounding communities but also come together and learn more about each other. I was able to hear a lots about the Christian, Lutheran and Jewish faiths, which i had known little about. We went around the museum during the event and realized many of the religious art pieces connected beliefs all of our religions. That’s when I had first come to the conclusion that faith is actually really similar in many groups of people, it being something that provides a foundation and structure for belief system in someone’s life. I loved reading your post and seeing how eye opening that experience was for you and hearing other people share similar stories.

  4. Hello Yaseen,

    I have not taken the journey of Hajj yet. But I am definitely looking forward to it, as I have always heard about how life-changing it feels. I loved how your post described your experience and gave a background to our faith. Even as a Muslim I felt I learned a little bit more about our faith.

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