Friday 26th December,2008

Today has been a long day. It began with Fajr, of course at Masjid al-Nabawi. At 8.00 a.m. I went to Masjid al-Quba with a small group to bid farewell to that first masjid established by Rasulullah (uwbp). The driver decided to take us on a tour afterwards. He was looking for a mall that was opened for business. None was, as Friday is a holiday over here, as is Thursday.  We arrived back at the hotel at approximately 10.30 a.m. I immediately picked up the Quran and read until 11.45 a.m.

Enite, my room mate with the pinched nerve, is taken to the masjid for Jumma in a wheelchair.  The masjid is really crammed. I am forced to pray in the 35 degrees Celsius sunlight.  We then had lunch. I went to my room and read Quran until Asr.  After Asr in the Masjid, I stayed on and completed the recitation at about 5.15 p.m. I made dua and dedicated the reading to my family members—Ihsie, Nabsie and Rasheeda. Alhamdulillah!

Main domes of the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. The Prophet is buried beneath the green dome, early Muslim leaders Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab are buried under the silver dome.
After Maghrib,  Rasheeda and I met outside the Ar-Rawdah—[the tomb to the pulpit of Rasullullah (uwbp)] to bid farewell. We made dua.

And again I am in emotional turmoil. I recall his [uwbp] struggles to spread the message of peace—the suffering and humiliation he underwent; they swept the garbage on him, they tried to strangle him but Abu Bakr had saved him; they tried to poison him; they tried to assassinate him—he was a wanted man, preferably dead—but he never once gave up; he persisted with his mission so that I can have Islam as my way of life.

As I stood gazing at the Green Dome, I recall the site of Cave Hira—that cave is in a treacherous place—one slip on the sheer rocks and that would have been the end.  How he found that cave also is a miracle in itself.  After climbing some 2500 feet, the climber must go around a bend, go downwards and across and then one will find the cave.  While I was there I saw baboons and goats. No doubt, he would have had to contend with other more dangerous, wild animals—snakes and scorpions and God alone knows what else.

And I find my respect and admiration for this great man is increased tremendously. He never complained to anyone about his trials. He never voiced frustration at his task, no resentment just an unbridled passion for the mission and an undying faith in an Unseen God.

I can contain myself no longer and began weeping uncontrollably feeling unworthy. Rasheeda passes a tissue which brought me back to the now and  compose myself.

“ This Ar-Rawdah has a devastating effect on me,” I murmur . “ I can’t understand how these people are rushing to this site. I feel so unworthy to even be in the same place where he is buried….”

I start to recite Durood over and over.  Amidst the tears and the sobs, I visualize the Companions, jostling with one another to catch the water that fell from him as he performed wudu. And I can understand. I can understand a lot of things concerning the way the companions acted in his presence. I glance at the Green Dome. I look at the ground. I blow my nose; I am in emotional turmoil.  Thank God the Azan is sounding. “ I will pray right on the ground here,” I stutter at Rasheeda. “ We’ll meet at the hotel at dinner.”  Then she was gone.