Wednesday 2 March 2016

Madinah Part Two: The Exhibitions + The Green Dome: 11-14 February 2016.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Welcome to the last of my Umrah posts! It's a jam-packed one today. We visit three exhibitions and pay a final visit to Masjid Quba.

Not to forget more ice cream and the best things along the way. Make yourself some tea and let's go!

Thursday 11 February: The best start to the busiest day - fresh, hot French fries at breakfast!
And, endless cups of the best coffee.
Before Zuhr, we went to see "The Beautiful Names of Allah" Exhibition.
It is right opposite the mosque! Cue the photos:
After wandering through the beautiful exhibition for about half an hour, we came out into the pre-Zuhr blazing sunshine.
Alhamdulillah, the umbrellas were open and keeping everyone cool.
Back to the hotel to get freshened up and have a look out at the crazy street below!
So much traffic with every car honking their horn thinking that it'll make everything go faster!
Not to forget the hundreds of street sellers selling everything from socks to dates.
And, the sellers are almost always women!
I remember counting the coaches on the street at this point - there were at least 19! All loading and unloading pilgrims!
We prayed Asr in our usual spot ...
... under the umbrellas!
After the prayer, we went to see the Muhammad (peace be upon him) exhibition. We weren't sure if it was open but after a few minutes wait, in we went! Cue the photos!
A map showing the route of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he migrated to Madinah.
The green line shows the path taken by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the red is the usual Makkan route to Madinah.
You guys, this exhibition was my favourite for these models alone. This is a model of the mosque of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his blessed lifetime.
Right next to the mosque were the rooms of his wives - Aisha (ra) and Sauda (ra).
Seeing this model made me realize how simply built everything was back then. Plus it's a good image in your mind whenever you hear the Prophet's (peace be upon him) mosque mentioned in his biography.
Another model of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) mosque!
Next, a model of Madinah in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Next, a pillar listing the names of the ten companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who were promised Paradise.
May Allah be pleased with them all - ameen.
The last part of the exhibition was about the passing away of the Prophet (peace be upon him). 
Muhammad is not but a messenger. (Other) messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels (to unbelief)? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.
{Surah Aale Imraan // Family of Imraan, Verse 144}
A model of the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Subhanallah, how simple!
This exhibition was so beautiful. And, outside there were loads of old pictures of Madinah.
A lovely place to pause and reflect.
We were supposed to walk around to where the green dome is itself but ended up discovering another exhibition! Our third in one day!
This one was showing lots of old copies of the Quran.
Handwritten about 700 years ago.
Handwritten about 600 years ago.
Another beautiful exhibition - this one was in the buildings opposite the green dome side of the mosque.
We came out to blue skies and the afternoon sun.
To finally see the green dome in the daylight - it is under the dome where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is buried.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
The last of the cities of Islam to be destroyed is Al-Madinah.
Anas (ra) narrated that:
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) would return from a trip and see the walls of Al-Madinah, he would speed up his riding camel, and if he was upon a beast, he would agitate it, out of his love for Al-Madinah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever is able to die in Al-Madinah, then let him die there, for I will intercede for those who die there.
Anas (ra) reports:
"The day the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to Madinah, everything in Madinah became illuminated. 
The day when the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away, everything of Madinah became dark. We had not yet dusted off the dust from our hands after the burial of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when we began to feel the change in our hearts".
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
No one is patient with the difficulties and hardships of Al-Madinah, except that I am an intercessor, or a witness for him on the Day of Judgement.
It was nearing the time for Maghrib so we walked back to the women's outside prayer area - and on the way, the umbrellas started to close!!
The sun began to set.
As a drone whizzed by overhead!
The umbrellas closed ..
... just as the crescent moon was seen in the skies above.
The call to the Maghrib prayer was called and everyone stood to pray.
After the Isha prayer, we went for dinner at a family friend's house in Madinah. May Allah reward them - they were such generous hosts. Here we are outside a local store where our host stopped to buy freshly baked flatbreads. I love going out of the area around the mosque - you get to see how the people of Madinah really live. Subhanallah, they are the neighbours of the Prophet (peace be upon him)!
 Friday 12 February: Waking up in Madinah on the most blessed day of the week!
We prayed the Friday prayer which took place after the Friday sermon, under the umbrellas. Alhamdulillah for those umbrellas - the sun was really hot today. 
In the prayer, the Imam recited Surah Al-Falaq:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak
From the evil of that which He created
And from the evil of darkness when it settles
And from the evil of the blowers in knots
And from the evil of an envier when he envies".
{Surah Al-Falaq // The Daybreak}
And, he recited Surah An-Nas:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
The Sovereign of mankind.
The God of mankind,
From the evil of the retreating whisperer -
Who whispers (evil) into the breasts of mankind -
From among the jinn and mankind".
{Surah An-Nas // The Mankind}
There was absolute chaos on our favourite street after the Friday prayer.
People taking over the road, street sellers selling everywhere ...
... cars blocked everywhere, police sirens wailing, the police themselves barking orders at everyone through their megaphones!
And of course, the never-ending loading and unloading of pilgrims galore.
These guys decided to hoist heavy suitcases up to the top of this bus with what looked like a very thin string!
Coaches ready to take pilgrims to Makkah and not to mention, huge flocks of birds flying overhead.
Time for ice cream! The vanilla raspberry was my favourite!
I wanted to snap this - in Saudi, all shops close at prayer time.
Dinner from Al-Baik! We had broasted chicken, fries and the best spicy fish fingers!
Much later on, there was more ice cream (chocolate!!). This was around one in the morning when we returned from doing our final Salaam to the Prophet (peace be upon him). We would go for Salaam around midnight once the rush had slightly died down. Any ladies out there who have been to the Rawdah for Salaam know very well as to how busy and chaotic it can get!
Saturday 13 February: Guys, this morning (our last in Madinah) I was woken up by the biggest racket ever outside!
I pulled back the curtain to count, and I kid you not, 45 coaches on the street below. They were all honking their horns as loud as possible!

Because it was Saturday, we returned to Masjid Quba to fulfil the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who would sometimes visit it on this day.

Ibn Umar (ra) used to come to Quba on every Saturday and he said:
I saw Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) coming (to this place) on every Saturday.
{Sahih Muslim}
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever purifies himself in his house, then comes to the Quba Mosque and offers one prayer there, will have a reward like that for Umrah.
{Sunan Ibn Majah}
The mosque was looking particularly beautiful this morning.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
The following verse was revealed in connection with the people of Quba: 
In it are men who love to be purified.
Abu Hurayra (ra) said:
They (people of Quba) used to cleanse themselves with water after easing. So the verse was revealed in connection with them.
{Sunan Abi Dawud}
The sellers were out in force around Masjid Quba.
And of course, we had to get ice cream!
The ice cream in Madinah was the best - the cone was so crispy!

Back towards Masjid Nabawi we go!
Later, after a mammoth packing session, we were back in our favourite spot for Asr.
Spot the tiny birds!
Time for our last meal! Keema with peppers and tomatoes + the softest flatbreads!
Plus I couldn't resist buying 1kg of chocolate from one of the street sellers outside the hotel! :)
Our final prayer at the mosque was Isha. This was our view whenever we came out of the hotel.
Photos never do this place any justice!
At the Maghrib prayer, the Imam recited Surah Al-Infitar.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
When the sky breaks apart
And when the stars fall, scattering,
And when the seas are erupted
And when the (contents of) graves are scattered,
A soul will (then) know what it has put forth and kept back.
O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous,
Who created you, proportioned you, and balanced you?
In whatever form He willed has He assembled you.
No! But you deny the Recompense.
And indeed, (appointed) over you are keepers,
Noble and recording;
They know whatever you do.
Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure,
And indeed, the wicked will be in Hellfire.
They will (enter to) burn there on the Day of Recompense,
And never therefrom will they be absent.
And what can make you know, what is the Day of Recompense?
Then, what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense?
It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul (power to do) a thing; and the command, that Day, is (entirely) with Allah.
{Surah Al-Infitar // The Cleaving}
The Imam also recited Surah At-Tin:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
By the fig and the olive
And (by) Mount Sinai
And (by) this secure city (Makkah),
We have certainly created man in the best of stature;
Then We return him to the lowest of the low,
Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds, for they will have a reward uninterrupted.
So what yet causes you to deny the Recompense?
Is not Allah the Most Just of judges?
{Surah At-Tin // The Fig}
We left Madinah after Isha - this was our last glimpse of the mosque. :(
From Madinah airport, we took a flight to Jeddah.

It was the shortest flight - not even an hour!
After landing in Jeddah, we waited about three hours to catch our flight home.
Sunday 14 February: On the plane to Manchester. Note I did not get a window seat. :(
Sandwiches and chocolate to keep us going!
This flight felt like the longest ever! I drifted in and out of sleep.
The only thing that kept me sane was listening to this!
Breakfast before landing! Omelettes, croissants and fruit!
Driving home from the airport in the cold sunshine! Alhamdulillah, we made it!

I hope you guys have enjoyed my Umrah posts and that they have inspired you to go for Umrah yourselves one day. May Allah accept all our intentions and efforts - ameen!

Keep me in your duas please,


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