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?