Saturday, June 12, 2010

Madina Munawwara

Madina Munawwara

An aalim was in Madina tul Munawwarah for Ziarah. One day, when he had taken his meal, he threw the crumbs / leftovers out in the open for birds to eat. By chance he came out again and saw a small boy picking up the leftovers and eating them. The aalim felt very sad and took the boy inside, gave him food and asked him about himself. The boy told the aalim that he was an orphan and that he had several brothers and sisters. His mother had difficulty finding enough food for all of them. The aalim made friends with the boy and asked him to come to Pakistan where he would give him education, food and clothes and when he was old enough to support himself, he could come back to Madina. The boy took the aalim to his mother. The mother was happy to hear that her son would become an aalim. She willingly allowed the boy to leave.As the day of departure came closer, the boy would ask the aalim questions about Pakistan. He would ask, "Would there be toys?" The aalim replied that he will Insha Allah buy toys for him. Then he would ask, would there be playgrounds there too? The aalim replied, yes, my son. Then he would ask, " Would I get new clothes." The aalim replied in the affirmative. Then he would ask, "Would I get food too?" The aalim would reply in the affirmative.One day, the boy asked, "Would there be this Green dome (Gunbad E Khidra) too?" The aalim replied, " No my son, this would not be there. If it were there, why would we come here? We have come all the way just to visit this place!" At this, the boy replied, " I can live without food, without clothes, without toys and playground, but I shall not go if the Gunbad E Khidra (Rauda E Rasool Sall Allah Ho Alaihe Wa Sallam) is not there . . ."
Mosque of The Holy Prophet
In this palace of the Prophet, the space is articulated with supreme genius. To one side is the Gate of Gabriel, leading on, and in, to the Rawda, and to the mihrab in which the Messenger himself laid his forehead on the earth in adoration of God. On one side is the dakka, the carved marble platform on which the muezzin and his assistants await the appointed time. On the other rises the gold grille beyond which lies the cool and shaded silence beneath the great dome. The air here is perfumed by the rarest of incense and musk, announcing the presence, beneath the flagstones, of the Best of Creation.The proximity is overwhelming for some pilgrims, whose humility and awe forces them to sit at a respectful distance, perhaps some way down the mosque. Others cannot sit too close. Everywhere, there is worship, bowing and prostration, the mellifluous murmuring of the Qur'an, and wordless contemplation.A hadith tells us that "Prayer in my mosque is a thousand times better than prayer in any other mosque, saving only the Sacred Mosque itself." As the iqama sounds, and half a million men and women rise with longing for the prayer, the calculation does not feel like an overstatement.Prayer in the Rawda is especially sought after. A hadith affirms that "the space between my grave and my pulpit is one of the Meadows of Paradise." Here, listening to the awesome gravity of God's word, the continuity with the blessed past is felt intensely. The greatest saints and scholars of Islam have stood here: after the Companions came countless thousands: all the great souls of Islam have prayed here, humbled by the Prophetic presence.After the silent prayers of the day, the worshippers drink the words of the Qur'an thirstily. The greetings of peace are given, and the lines break up as they worship individually. Circles of remembrance form in the Rawda, as turbanned Turks repeat a litany, guided by their teacher, prayer-beads in hand. Nigerians, Uzbeks, Bangladeshis, Indonesians and every other national does likewise. These pilgrims know that they are in the presence of the most influential man in history. He had found a people divided by the crudest pagan ignorance, and left them united in the purest and most exalted monotheism. Formerly they had denied life after death; twenty three short years on, they lived with it constantly before their eyes. He had found them unable to rule themselves, torn by agelong vendettas, knowing no law other than the selfish interest of the tribe and the individual's honour; and he left their hearts so united that they withstood the shock of his death, and went out to liberate the world!
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) decided to leave Mecca because the Meccan chiefs had taken action to kill him at his home. It was the year 622 CE. As far the choice of migrating to Medina (known as Yathrib at that time), the decision was made easier by the second ‘Pledge of Aqaba’ made a year before on the occasion of the annual rites of pilgrimage. The pledge was made by seventy three men and two women of Khazraj and Aws communities of Medina. They had accepted Islam and wanted to invite the Prophet to migrate to Medina. Their motivation for this move, apart from recognizing him as the Prophet, the trustworthy, and the best in conduct in Mecca, was to bring peace and security between the Khazraj and Aws. They were often at war with each other and the Battle of Bu'ath had shattered their strength completely. They desperately needed a leader who could be trusted by both communities and bring peace in Medina. As part of the pledge, they were to protect the Prophet as they would protect their women and children if he were attacked by the Meccans.The immediate result of the Prophet’s migration to Medina was peace and unity between the communities of Aws and Khazraj. The Prophet, motivated by the general welfare of citizens of Medina, decided to offer his services to the remaining communities including the Jews. He had already laid down the basis for relationship between the Emigrants from Mecca (known as Muhajirin) and Medinites (known as the Ansar, the helpers).The Treaty between Muslims, non-Muslim Arabs and Jews of Medina was put in writing and ratified by all parties. It has been preserved by the historians. The document referred to Muhammad (pbuh) as the Prophet and Messenger of God but it was understood that the Jews did not have to recognize him as such for their own religious reasons.The first written constitution of a State ever promulgated by a sovereign in human history emanated from the Prophet of Islam. It was enacted from the first year of Hijrah (622 CE). The treaty stipulated a city state in Medina, allowing wide autonomy to communities. Private justice was to be banished. The head of the State had the prerogative to decide who should participate in an expedition, the war and peace being indivisible. Social insurance was to be instituted.

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