12pm brought me out of my sleep and sitting upright in bed while replying to greetings from my roommates who also began stirring at the same time. “When is the adhan to be made?” I looked around.
“I don’t know. I checked the timetable for Madinah and it looks like Zuhr begins just after 1pm.” Al-Hajj `Ismah’s bed was conspicuously empty and bore no signs of exactly when he left for Al-Masjid un-Nabawi.
“Do we have any leftovers from what we brought from Makkah…you know the juices and salads?” I felt thirsty and was genuinely relieved when I made my way to the refrigerator and found there were some remnants of our past healthy snacks that we had consumed in Makkah.
Matloob could not help himself and just had to put on terrestrial television and take a peep. He would find nothing but programmes about Islam, recitation, the occasional Salafi ranting (I mean by this that he was actually red in the face shouting like some sort of Waffen SS veteran trying to increase the morale of his troops) and then there was just pure news.
Tanweer switched off the box using the remote. “Come on, we did not come all the way to Hajj and Madinah for the tele. Let’s do something else.” Matloob looked and only gestured. “Just checking what was on to see how the other half lives.” Tanweer nodded and we looked at each other.
There was the initial stop in the time-space continuum as all three of us stared at the bathroom door. Would we all try to go in at once and live by the law of the jungle or would we be civilised. We started smiling immediately.
“So how are we going to do this? Who’s in first?” Tanweer stared at me briefly. “You go in first. You’re closest to the door.” I felt it would be fine for him to go first and I could be patient. Being last meant that you had the place all to yourself.
And last I was…Matloob strolled out and promptly announced to me that if I was thinking of a shower I would have to wait for fresh towels. “Nevermind. I’ll just air dry,” I announced to the duo.
The shower room was just as palatial as our bathroom in Makkah. It was as large of the largest bedroom in my house back in the UK and thought this was the stuff of legend.
I tried to dress and put on my best clothes for the occasion and prepared myself. I came out and found that they were both reclining back on the bed and enjoying their time. We now found our way out of the building and exchanged some pleasantries with the desk staff.
The walk to the masjid was quiet and looking at our watches, could see that it was 1:30pm, but we had not heard the Adhan. It seems that the Adhan of Madinah was much softer and lighter on the tongue than the mighty blast we used to receive in Makkah.
It is at this point I would like to make a worthy observation. Makkah and Madinah were both equal in my eyes as you saw different things in each and each was noble in its’ own right. Makkah was the place where you saw the pure Holiness of Allah, his Taqaddus and Majd.
Such was this that people often feel that sense of terror and awe while at the Sacred Compound. The blasting heat of Makkah made you understand that this was the place where revelation first came, the home of prophesy, the place where the human race began once the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, descended to Earth from the Paradise.
Madinah was where you saw the Mercy of Allah, His Rahmah, Fadilah and Sharaf. The cool wind, soft adhan, soft people and placid attitude were all signs of this mercy. I looked at the city and remembered that these same gentle people had been forced by invading Salafis to eat all the dogs in the city when there was a supply blockade from the stubborn cult.
We decided to break up and then meet back at the hotel and then maybe have a dinner together. “Remember to do as much du`aa as possible.” I nodded to Matloob and we parted ways. I was on my way to the entrance of the masjid and could see Arabs outside, both Badawi and Hadari, mixing and talking.
I went in without so much as even a look from the hirasah (security forces) and found a section of the masjid to call my own for the time being. I had missed Zuhr in jama`ah so the people were filing out or doing their sunan ratibah. One shaikh was teaching Maliki fiqh to some students quietly.
It was a pity as the Salafi establishment, in its’ monopolisation of the sacred area, stopped people from conspicuously teaching and left Imams having to behave like crack dealers when teaching Maliki fiqh and the like.
I prayed the greetings to the masjid, two raka`ah before Zuhr, Zuhr and then the two raka`ah after that. I had to be back at the room quickly because we needed to catch Al-Hajj `Ismah and taken him to the hospital to check how much damage had been done to his heart.
The ailing al-Hajj was full of ideas and quite buoyant for a man who had been laying on the floor in Mina on one fajr morning waiting for death. “Are we going?” Yes, we were going, I thought. We flagged down a taxi and a very calm Yemeni took us to the clinic and gave us dates on the way. Shaikh al-Husri blasted from the stereo and he talked about how happy he was to be living Madinah and would never leave.
He dropped as at Ash-Shifa Clinic and told us what to do and how to be booked into the clinic. Our 4:30pm arrival was good because waiting times were long. At 5pm we met an Indonesian woman that spoke fluent Arabic and advised that what we wanted to do could not be done there but would have to be done at the Al-Ansar Hospital.
We prayed Maghrib upstairs and prepared to make our way. I came up and found most of the people had finished. I was going to pray by myself when another man came in and we joined in together.
After the prayer, he was very friendly and happy to make my acquaintance. One of the doctors on site, he was also perceptive. “So what group did you come with?” I replied that I had come from the UK and had just been visiting. “You’re Hanbali?”
When I replied in the affirmative, he beamed. “So there are many there?” I remarked in the negative and that it is just a few but I was working with some to get works translated. The doctor was very excited about that and gave his final reply, “Allah accept it from you.”
After I came down the winding stairs, Tanweer and Matloob were waiting out side with Al-Hajj, who wanted to get checked and scanned as soon as possible. We were at Al-Ansar Hospital for 5:30pm and waiting at the door. We had to check in at the counter, twice.
Security swapped and we had to again state our purpose. Military men with rifles waited in the lobby and were also in the leisure rooms. The khaki suits made me want to laugh but I stifled it. I had to ask to see someone to get X rays and after some wrangling and raised eyebrows, we eventually reached an understanding.
I had never learned the medical language of Arabic so I had to learn off the cuff. I was fortunate that I had two doctors with me as they would explain the process and medical situations and in painstaking detail I would have to explain the situation.
They would after some time nod with understanding and then repeat the necessary Arabic equivalent and go through the technical situation. When we met the doctor, he was s tall, slim be speckled man who had an easy gait. The process of taking the X rays and our release sped up once we made his acquaintance.
At 8:30pm we had to call a cab to get back and easily found our way back to the hotel. So that by 9:30pm we were at our hotel door and Al-Hajj `Ismah said that he would rest and make sure he could get up before tahajjud.
Once we had changed into our sleeping clothes, we heard a thumping at the door. “Brother Abu Ja`far, it’s Uwais. May I come in?” I assented and opened the door and in slipped our tall compatriot.
“You know what we spoke about before, you know doing the Shama’il of Imam at-Tirmidhi. I was wondering if we could start it on this Friday. It’s Wednesday now so I wanted to give you some notice.” I recalled what we had discussed and agreed. “Great, so we’ll meet after Maghrib and begin.”
“Wonderful. So where should be do it? My room or yours?” I looked over and he gave me a quizzical look. “You didn’t know? I thought you knew that my sister, some brothers and I agreed to have it outside of Al-Masjid un-Nabawi, in the courtyard not far from the green dome.”
I immediately went on alert. “As long as you know the risks. I am not trying to collide with the Salafi police and everything. I just want to enjoy the city and relax after the hajj.” “So you think the deviants will try something?” Uwais raised his eyebrow and as I was formulating a response brother Mumtaz came in along with Saghir and `Irfan.
“Is it true about the dars on Tirmidhi after Maghrib on Friday?” I nodded but then offered a statement. “Let’s try it out and see and if anything happens we will have to move it or not do it.” “Agreed.” Uwais was in agreement and understood the risk we were taking.
I would just have to be prepared. After seeing them out and bidding farewell I reclined on my bed and thought about the fitnah that I could face and also the lies that Salafiyyah was known to do. If someone disagreed with them, they tried to discredit the person and in this way they would (in their own twisted and distorted reasoning) have answered the arguments or objections raised.
The only parallel I had for them was the Jehovah’s Witnesses, both carrying an air of knowledge and adherence to scripture. The difference is Jehovah’s Witnesses never claimed to be the only true Muslims and are generally pacifistic (Jehovah’s Witnesses were never called apostates by our scholars either).
Salafis on the other hand, kill detractors, slander questioners and refer to arguments against them as grave worship and such. We would see Friday what Salafiyyah would do. Allah, on the other hand, protects His Slaves and gives power to whom He wills.